Casual dating. But not so casual about safety

It’s Valentine’s Day - that time of year when the apps on your phone, brands on social media, and promotional emails in your inbox are all sorts of pink, lavender, and purple. But the colour that we want you to think of is Red – especially when you get a random message in your inbox or see a stranger trying to connect online; it could be romance scam bait.

Let’s put the clichéd intros aside and deal in facts.

Romance scams are on the rise – up by 22% in 2023. According to Lloyds Bank, on average, victims were defrauded of £6,937. While men are more likely to be victims, women suffer a more significant financial loss. The age group that fell for the scam the most was 55-64. It just goes on to prove once again that the impact of fraud transcends all demographic perceptions.

As digital increasingly becomes our default approach for everything and dating apps become common, fraudsters can now cast a much bigger net – trapping the most vulnerable.

Scams fuelled by the internet’s anonymity and the ease of posing as anyone.

The expanse and the possibilities of the internet give fraudsters a safe harbour to operate from. The lack of strong digital identity verification measures makes it even harder to be sure who’s on the other side.

What makes it more challenging is the ease with which fraudsters can create fake profiles and be whoever they want. With AI increasingly used to create fake pictures, it’s harder to separate the real from the fraudulent profiles. We made profiles on three dating apps, using a picture of a toy car and randomly putting together letters for a name, and were swiping left and right in 15 minutes. No IDs asked. No email checks. Just a one-time passcode (OTP) was sent to the phone.

Privacy, safety and ease – all rolled into one.

Sizzl is an online dating app whose core proposition is its casual nature. No need to act before a match expires, no quizzes to answer, and nothing that puts pressure on the user. We sat down with Phil Beesley, co-founder of Sizzl, to uncover their approach to simplifying the dating process while prioritising safety and security.

"We understand that the journey to finding a match can be daunting, with many users preferring to keep their online dating ventures discreet," explains Phil. Even in 2024, there’s a stigma attached to being on dating apps. People don’t want others to know and demand an onboarding process that’s easy, quick and doesn’t involve much fuss.  "We've seen in the past that overly intrusive onboarding processes make people drop off.  

But Phil also adds, “User experience does not trump user safety for us”. They’re looking to incorporate robust user verification and onboarding measures that are seamless and quick – like OneID®.

The easiest way to prove who you are online

Unlike conventional age and identity verification methods, OneID® does not require a document or selfie upload. Instead, it relies on the stringent checks that banks have run on their customers to verify the information entered by users on online platforms like Sizzl.

OneID® is the UK’s only digital identity service that uses bank-verified data and open-banking rails to create absolute certainty between users and online platforms in a fast, document-free and secure way. By eliminating the need for document scanning, OneID® minimises the data shared, prioritises privacy and makes the onboarding process discreet.   

Staying safe when dating online

Phil recommends that users message and interact solely within the app to stay safe, allowing Sizzl to offer assistance and intervene when inappropriate behaviour occurs. To help its users safely navigate the dating scene, Sizzl educates its community with resources and guidelines on staying safe, spotting scams, and identifying fake accounts.

Sizzl and OneID® in their own space – are delivering simpler and more secure digital experiences by eliminating tedious processes and steps. This simplicity and effectiveness is what digital natives want to see more of.

Learn more about Sizzl.

Experience the fastest, easiest way to verify identity online.

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