Skip to main content

Building Trust and Promoting Safety in Online Dating

With hundreds of dating apps to choose from, standing out from the crowd requires a commitment to building trust and safety. People on dating sites are inherently vulnerable because they want to form a genuine connection, so actively conveying your commitment to protecting them goes a long way.

Online daters care about trust and safety

To better understand the thoughts and behaviors of online daters, TransUnion conducted a survey of people who use or have used online dating platforms. We found an overwhelming consensus among online daters — regardless of age, gender, generation, income or education — feel platforms should prioritize safety by verifying information and conducting background checks. They expect their chosen dating platforms to protect them and keep bad actors out.

According to the survey, 90% of daters believed platforms should verify user information, with 70% emphasizing the importance of background checks. The sentiment was so important, 60% of users said they’d be willing to pay for background checks for potential matches.

Trust and safety also boosted interaction as 90% said they’d be more likely to engage with verified community members. The top information users wanted to see verified included age, location and recency of photos, underscoring the need for transparency.

Identity and financial scams are top concerns

A significant majority of respondents (68%) expressed concerns about scams — with top worries being:

  • Catfishing (50%)
  • Phishing for personal information (54%)
  • Romance scammers asking for money (50%)

Interestingly, 54% of respondents said they knew someone who has been a victim of fraud.  Respondents were also victims, and nearly 7 in 10 said they’d been victimized multiple times.

The community might be less familiar with bots and account takeover (ATO), but these scams are equally damaging. In the dating world, bots are most often used to create fake profiles then develop relationships on the platform to extort people for money. In an ATO attack, fraudsters hijack control of the subscriber’s mobile phones and email addresses.

Implementing a robust verification process can help eliminate fraudulent individuals while protecting personally identifiable information (PII), creating a more secure environment for authentic connections.

Balancing trust, safety and the community experience

Education is the first line of defense: Teach users about the threat of scams, ways users can protect themselves and how to notice and report suspicious activity. Encouraging the community to keep communication within the platform rather than going offsite further ensures a secure environment.

Adopting innovative solutions that prioritize both safety and user experience can further cultivate a trusted space for honest connections, fostering stronger loyalty among community members. While safety and security are paramount, ensuring a seamless, streamlined experience is equally crucial. Community members don’t want to spend too much extra time with authentication processes. Platforms should conduct security checks and evaluate risk behind the scenes without interrupting the member experience.

Identity insights

One of the best ways to keep the community safe is to prevent those with ill intent from entering your platform in the first place. Ensuring trust and safety begins at registration — with a focus on confirming validity of email addresses. And because people frequently change, add or delete email addresses, be sure to have line of sight into historical email addresses as well.

Additional identity insights, like those provided by TransUnion TruValidate™, enable platforms to verify identities with confidence and confirm the person is who they say they are. Getting results in seconds helps ensure the enrollment process isn’t slowed down. Use a reputable data provider to obtain information, such as: 

  • Aliases
  • Criminal history, incarcerations and arrests
  • Present and past phone numbers, emails addresses and physical addresses

Taking these steps safeguards community members and better protects them from the damaging effects of fraudulent profiles.

Device insights

Device risk, reputation, history and suspicious behavior signals help identify high-risk users, while device risk continuously corroborates identity linkages to authenticate users behind devices, especially for first-time devices and users. Analyzing device types, IP addresses and physical locations confirms the legitimacy and origin of web traffic in real time — while device insights track behavioral analytics, such as evaluating whether the user is copying and pasting personal data, toggling between tabs or conducting other actions that appear suspicious.

Examining user devices for suspicious activities is crucial. You’ll get answers to questions like:

  • Is the device associated with the prospective member?
  • Does device behavior indicate the person isn’t who they say they are?
  • Has the device been linked to fraud in the past?

Sustaining a trusted brand

Safety measures shouldn’t end after initial authentication. For example, device-based authentication allows existing members to log in effortlessly during subsequent sessions, striking a balance between security and convenience. Building trust in online dating requires a multifaceted approach that prioritizes safety without compromising the community’s experiences. Platforms that invest in robust safety measures will not only attract new community members but also retain them by creating a secure space for genuine connections to flourish.

How TransUnion can help

Take the next steps to make dating safer and more secure for your community.  


Do you have questions? Our team is ready to help.