It’s a few days after Valentine’s Day and those of you who celebrated with your sweetie might still be recovering from mega-doses of chocolates and champagne. But for those of you who are still trying to find that special someone…well, there are a few things you should know.
Joining online dating sites has become one of the most popular ways to find mates, but as the Electronic Frontier Foundation reported, these sites aren’t being as careful about users’ privacy as they should be:
And when it comes to the actual content found on the sites, fraud protection agency iovation stated that 3.8% of all transactions it processed for online dating sites were fraudulent. The actions included:
- Users who misrepresenting themselves to try to acquire personal information from others
- Directing users to phishing sites
- People being spamming with unrelated messages
- Users being harassed
While that percentage might not sound like a lot, considering that over two million people a month use online dating sites, according to a recent figure, the number of fraudulent acts can reach hundreds of thousands per month.
Of course it is also much easier for people to misrepresent themselves online, which may explain why 81% of online daters provide inaccurate data on their profiles regarding their age, height and weight. Makes you wonder what else they are being dishonest about.
Still, for those individuals willing to take the plunge through online dating, it should be used as one tool among many, and not a panacea, to finding a permanent mate. Online dating sites might benefit people with demanding schedules or those who have few opportunities to meet other singles, but the claim by some sites that they can help find a compatible partner through proprietary algorithms is questionable.
According to Dr. Eli Finkel, associate professor of social psychology at Northwestern University, “to date, there is no compelling evidence that any online dating matching algorithm actually works.” Harry T. Reis, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester in N.Y., said he believes dating sites should share their methodology, noting that, “imagine if a drug company came out with a new drug and said that it cures depression better than any other drug, but refuses to tell people what’s in the drug or how they did the study. Would you believe that claim?”
[UPDATE: On March 20, 2012 California’s Attorney General announced that three of the nation’s leading online dating providers, eHarmony, Match.com and Spark Networks, have agreed to protect their members through online safety tools, including checking subscribers against national sex offender registries and by offering an abuse reporting system for members.]