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5 Ways Dating Sites and Apps can Build Trust among Users

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By Manuela Marques, Sales & Marketing Growth Director

Privacy & Security

4 minute read

A young couple looking at their phone while sitting at an outdoor table.
A young couple looking at their phone while sitting at an outdoor table.

Matchmaking is perhaps the world’s oldest pastime — and now is full swing in the digital world. Led by millennials, online dating websites and apps are growing in popularity.

How to do it? – Here’s Where You can Start

The industry is moving fast and providing new ways for people to meet, date, hookup, and even find their soul mate. Additionally, the dating market is filled with a wide range of special niches and features, such as matching women with bearded men, and filtering matches solely among university-educated people. While the variety of dating apps and sites continues to expand, one thing remains the same: the importance of building trust when dealing with private and sensitive client information. With the market’s increasing popularity and proliferation, cybersecurity issues are becoming ever more critical.

Even as the use of digital dating becomes more standard, not everyone is comfortable with admitting they use a dating network. Furthermore, people looking for a match don’t expect interacting with bots or fake users, or be subject to scams and fraud. With many options available right at their fingertips, users may quickly divert to another dating site if they believe their trust has been broken. Online dating, in particular, puts people in a vulnerable position, as they are often encouraged to reveal as much of themselves as possible.

Fraud is a growing issue for digital dating; according to Siftscience, 10% of dating profiles are fake. More dating users are being conned on dating sites and apps, reported the UK paper Independent. Just in the United Kingdom, users were conned out of GBP 39 million by fraudsters they’d met on dating sites and apps. At the same time, certain dating networks blindly aim to increase user base, without guarding against potential threats, as we experienced when Match.com recently reactivated a bunch of old profiles. It is very possible that users sense a creepy trend coming in, and start distrusting the brands.

Dismissing users’ concerns and risks on fraud will likely drive them away — and make them switch to one of the many options they can choose from. Therefore, trust is a key issue that online dating companies should proactively tackle.

1. Reduce fake accounts with a streamlined user registration process

When your users feel they are safely connecting with other legitimate users, it builds customer trust and loyalty.

Onboarding users, starts with a streamlined user registration process that validates each user with information contained in their phone number. Because phone numbers are harder to obtain than email addresses, which can be created in bulk by anyone, dating companies can more reliably validate and authenticate new users by utilizing the phone number as a trust anchor for authentication — and even customer communication — throughout the account lifecycle.

You can also use a few patterns to identify potential fake accounts. For example, by understanding the carrier information and location associated with each phone number, you can check the country where attempted fake accounts came from.

By verifying the phone number at the very first step in user registration, you can eliminate bots creating fake accounts in bulk, without deterring legitimate users from registering.

2. Minimize account takeovers and fraud with continuous authentication

Even with a proper user registration process, users with malicious goals can still manage to bypass the system. Therefore, it is important that fraud prevention does not stop at the sign-up stage, rather applied continuously.

Account takeovers in dating are also a persistent problem. According to the dating company Zoosk, older existing accounts are more likely to be taken over, especially when users utilize the same passwords across different services. Scamming tends to follow the same pattern we see in fake account creation, but perhaps with even scarier consequences, as it is a real account masquerading as another person, known as a catfisher.

With that in mind, dating companies should take fraud prevention and proactive authentication seriously. Matching the profile with a phone number enables you to get rid of account bots as well as to understand your user behavior. Furthermore, dating apps and sites should scan the registered phone numbers periodically as well as asking the user to reauthorize access, especially if the user tries to access the network from an unknown location or device, with a simple one-time code via SMS or a push notification.

3. Enable secure account recovery

A password reset process is critical for allowing users to regain access to your service with minimal disruption. Having the account linked to a phone number helps the user reset their password and continue using the account — in case they simply can’t remember the password. In order to enable the security procedure, you would need to request the phone number during the registration process. Once obtained, the phone number can be used as a second-factor (via SMS or voice call), in addition to the password set by the user.

For stronger protection, you can also activate continuous authentication. If your site requires the user to change the password from time to time or to change the password due to a suspicious activity, the user can be notified via SMS, email or push notification, requesting an immediate action such as resetting the password on a self-service site. You can also implement lockout notifications in case the user attempts to login unsuccessfully more than a few times, with further guidance on the next steps for account recovery.

4. Reduce chargebacks

Fraudsters gaining access to legitimate accounts are likely to steal credit card details. Once this is detected by the legitimate user, naturally they will ask for a chargeback. This hurts the trust the user has placed in your brand, and may result in a high churn rate and bad reputation — eventually hurting your bottom line.

Applying continuous authentication enables your brand to minimize fraud. With a simple mix of silent authentication (based on phone number intelligence to understand user behavior) and proactive authentication (by asking the user to authenticate signups, access and transactions), you can minimize account takeovers and resulting chargebacks.

5. Engage throughout the entire account lifecycle

For all service interactions, users demand fast responses to their inquiries — dating is no different.<

With ever-increasing competition in the space, online dating brands should leverage modern channels such as mobile messaging to communicate more with their users. This could take the form of alerts and notifications for new matching profiles, new interesting features, upsell and cross-sell opportunities, promotions, and more. Living in the era of attention scarcity, you should explore more real-time communication options to counter the declining open-rate of emails (currently at just 40%). Unlike emails, SMS boasts a staggering open rate of 98%.

Contact center operations, dealing with daily inquiries and service issues, can be further automated with real-time communications services such as messaging to provide quick responses and shorten the resolution time.

These 5 practices will be instrumental in building trust with users — and converting them into active users.