How hunt for love on dating apps can turn sour

Over the recent past, cases of fraud have been on the rise against those who use dating apps in Kenya, and in Africa generally.

Almost 29 per cent of those who used the platforms faced fraud attempts last year, according to a survey by cyber security firm Kaspersky. Almost three quarter (72%) of them, the reported noted, the fraudster tried to get money allegedly for the arrival from a remote area, 63 percent allegedly because of a difficult life situation.

Some Kenyan users encountered blackmail attempts, with 25 per cent saying the fraudster threatened to leak or to publish intimate photos. A significant part of respondents talked about phishing attempts, with 41 percent saying the fraudster tried to get personal data, for example by asking them to register on a particular website.

“Our survey shows that 56 per cent of users of dating services in Kenya faced fraud attempts more often since 2020 when the world knew about Covid-19. We all need to follow basic security rules to protect our privacy,” said Bethwel Opil, enterprise sales manager for Kaspersky in Africa. 

“Yes, there is still a dilemma. We would like to get to know new people and trust them but in the digital world we often do not know who is there, on the other side of the screen. We highly recommend not to share detailed information especially bank card details and selfie with documents, not to give the dating app access to your contacts and accounts in social networks. It is interesting that 9 per cent create fake accounts for the same reason — they consider it a good security measure.”

Kaspersky’s experts share the following recommendations to help people use dating apps more securely:

  • Be careful if you get digital Valentines cards from unknown senders: a card may lead to phishing or fraudulent website
  • Before buying gifts online and entering payment data check the title of the website and HTTPS-connection
  • Talk with your partner about digital borders: it is important that both members of a couple realise that the right for privacy gives assurance of trusted relationship
  • Think which passwords you are ready to share with your partner: there are good tools helping to manage passwords such as Kaspersky Password Manager;
  • Do not publish too much private information (surname, place you work in, photos with your friends, your mobile phone number etc.) and do not connect your social accounts to your profiles in dating apps
  • Do not visit unknown dating services especially if you saw them in ads: they may turn out to be fraudulent created to aim at stealing users’ money
  • Use reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Total Security on all your devices. It helps to detect fraudulent or suspicious activity and check the security of visited websites.

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