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Mobile Dating – A New Platform for Users and Criminals

Mobile Dating – A New Platform for Users and Criminals

For almost anything we want to do nowadays, there´s an app. People navigate, work out, shop and try to find love through a mobile app. We are more than ever used to real-time, rapid interactions. We rely on our smartphones for pretty much everything these days, and this in a way represents a serious risk. Do you know who is keeping track of all your moves?  Have you ever thought that giving out your location can put you in the perfect spot to be victim of online scam, kidnapping, or other crimes?

According to Appthority´s Reputation Report for 2014, 70 percent of free apps and 44 percent of paid apps perform location tracking, often without any need of the app to do so.  What does this mean?  It means that someone, perhaps multiple people and companies (and perhaps the government) is monitoring your movement, where and when every single day.  Does this sound like a good idea?  Mixed in with some of the folks violating your privacy are criminals, who are trained at online scams and fraud.

Mobile dating apps came into the picture as both a way to incorporate the mobile trend into an already very successful business –online dating- and also as a way to provide “security” for users. Geo location was a way to ensure that the people you´re dating are not lying about where they are.  While this could be seen as a benefit, private investigators say the “safety” benefit is overshadowed by other greater risks.

How criminals are using mobile dating

Most online dating scam cases start with the criminal lying about his/her location and citizenship. Many claim being from the U.S. or Canada, even from places close to their victim´s residence, but have left their home for a business opportunity or a family situation. Most of the times, the online scammer is from countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Philippines, Malaysia, Turkey and so on.  But the truth is,  more online dating scams are originating from within developed countries like the U.S. and U.K.

With the significant rise in romance scams and the multitude of dating apps available now, users feel very confused and skeptical of giving these mobile cupids a shot. With good reason.  When using a mobile device, it can be easy to click on a phishing link or download an attachment that contains a virus.  And as far as the benefit of GPS tracking, experts say it’s easily modified and it is actual a safety concern for you.  Yes, you know where many mobile dating subscribers are located, but they know where you are as well.

Any online relationship that is getting serious should always go through a dating background check. But besides worrying about the relationship being a fraud or not, users should also worry about who is collecting their location data, their personal information and their daily activities.  Decreased privacy and widespread sharing is one of the biggest factors in online and real world crime.

This topic was mainstream a few days ago, when Sen. Al Franken introduced legislation requiring companies to get customers’ permission before collecting location data off their mobile devices and sharing it with others.  The government, potential dates and crooks shouldn’t track you.

How users can lower the fraud risk

Keeping a private life becomes a responsibility of each and every one of us who want a safer life. Individuals now face a huge challenge, keeping a private life is no piece of cake in an era when you know information leaks out of even from the CIA and U.S. Embassies.  Sharing less online is the key.

International investigators recommend keeping control of the apps you download on your smartphone, reading the small print, constantly reviewing social media privacy settings, and being a little selfish with the information you share. Losing control online is more than a technology problem—it’s a sociological turning point.  Once something is published online, it can be hard or impossible to remove.

Avoid risky behaviors in mobile dating sites, get informed and share useful information on how to protect privacy.  Keep your daily activities and location to yourself, and if the app or website doesn’t give you that option, don’t use it.  Whether you’re looking for a no-strings-attached date or a long-term relationship, these tips can help you find and connect with a real person, and safely.

C. Wright
© 2014 Wymoo International
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© Copyright 2014 Wymoo International.  All Rights Reserved.  This content is the property of Wymoo International, LLC and is protected by United States and international copyright laws.

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