Tinder’s Explosive Growth Attracts Bots and Scammers

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Since Tinder launched in September 2012, it has become very popular. As of Q1 2014, the “hot or not” dating app has an average monthly active user base of almost 7.6 million, and around 40 percent of all users are accessing the app daily, according to AppData. Unfortunately, along with those great user numbers comes the dreaded spam, and even malware in Tinder’s case.

Tinder is pretty simple when it comes to dating apps. You connect your Facebook, give your age, gender and location and a picture of a potential suitor comes up. If you don’t like them swipe left, if you like them swipe right. If there’s a mutual swipe between you, Tinder makes the appropriate introductions and opens a chat option.

With a service so popular, it was only a matter of time before scammers arrived. BitDefender contributor Bianca Stanescu points out the problem and offers a few solutions. “Tinder bots typically start the conversation by asking users if they’ve talked before. Men are mostly targeted, as the idea that a beautiful girl will get naked on webcam is so arousing they completely forget about security (or reality),” she writes.

Avoiding scams can be difficult, but Stanescu suggests some simple steps: Stay away from suspected fakes, don’t overshare info in case of social engineers, watch out for stalkers and do not click dubious URLs. Maybe don’t click any URLs on dating sites, just to be sure.

Dating scams on social apps aren’t an uncommon occurrence. In fact, it’s so common that MTV made a show about the phenomenon called Catfish:The TV Show. The show has been so popular that the third season begins this May.

In the search for love, and perhaps especially when it comes to online dating, the concept of caveat emptor definitely applies. While there is plenty of evidence to indicate that meeting people online can lead to successful relationships, it’s still important to be both smart and skeptical.

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