Using dating apps helps many couples meet and fall in love, but what happens when the person you fall for is a catfish in disguise? Other than meeting in person, asking suitors the right questions, and never sending money to anyone you meet online, how are modern dating apps helping users avoid being tricked?
The sites that are stepping up to the plate to help combat catfish are:
Bumble has drawn a line in the sand. As a female-friendly dating app (in straight matches, women message first same-sex users, either party can message first), Bumble has already set a standard of not allowing hate speech in profiles since it takes harassment seriously (maybe because one of Bumble’s founders, Whitney Wolfe Herd, won a settlement against a Tinder after she dated a Tinder co-founder, which resulted in her being forced to leave her original role at that company).
Bumble has something called “photo verification,” which many apps are beginning to mimic. The purpose of photo verification is to take a selfie of one’s self while imitating a specific gesture (there is a list of 100 random gestures Bumble uses, and you will be given one to recreate).
A real person at Bumble will review your image/gesture, and either photo verifies or reject you. Authenticated users continue to use the site. Potentially fake users have their profile turned ‘off’ and can’t match or message. Read more about Bumbles techniques for photo verification, here: http://thebeehive.bumble.com/bumbleblog/2016/9/26/the-end-of-catfishing-introducing-photo-verification
On eHarmony, verification is only optional but more useful than none at all. The app/site uses “RelyID’ badges placed on profiles. This means that verification is done through your actual state identification card or driver’s license. This works unless a catfish is very skilled at photoshopping I.D. cards!
eHarmony users who want to have a verified profile submit their identification card or driver’s license and are then verified through their name, address, and real age. For those who prefer to use a made-up nickname, for safety, or who skim a few years off their age, this system of verification can be dissatisfying.
However, for those concerned about privacy, other users are not shown your home address – just city of residence, first name, and your age. eHarmony’s system doesn’t verify image in the same way Bumble does, which means that users might be older or heavier than photographs show. RelyID also costs $5.95 yearly, so catfish don’t verify. You can eHarmony guidelines, here: https://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/using-eharmony/new-feature-relyid/
Tinder’s profile verifications only matter if you’re a celebrity or other public figure. If a Tinder user is ‘verified,’ there will be a blue badge placed next to their name. This does little to help everyday users, but at least you won’t be tricked by a fake celebrity catfish!
If you want to avoid being catfished and don’t mind having less of a selection of dates to choose from, Badoo gives you the option only to see verified profiles. Similar to Bumble, you will recreate a gesture and snap a selfie (don’t worry, other users won’t see it).
You don’t have to go through the verification process, but if you do meet a user with a verified profile, you can (probably) feel more secure. This doesn’t mean you should give them your credit card information or meet in a remote location, alone, but hopefully, they are at least whom they claim to be.
Wild knows that people want to hook-up. Although it is also a meeting and dating site, it also has the distinction of having users photo verify with a gesture. Co-founder Paul Wesley claims they were the first to do so in 2015. Their internal data shows that their rate of verification is at 70% of its users. This can be helpful since hookup sites are notorious for fake people and catfish.
Whether you meet at a grocery store or on Tinder, Bumble, or Plenty of Fish, when sparks fly it’s unforgettable! Dating is complicated enough without having to decide if your date is who they claim to be. Many trusting daters find they are scammed by someone they thought they could trust.
This is because a skilled catfish can lead you through a roller-coaster of emotion. You may even experience highs and lows, ranging from intense love to despair! If you use and enjoy an app that helps protect their users against catfish, give it a positive review.
If you’re still uncertain who you’re dealing with, try a high-powered Social Catfish search and find out for sure!