According to ActionFraud, the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre, there were 2,858 reports of dating fraud in the UK between January and October this year, with victims losing more than £21 million to online scammers.
The Metropolitan Police is also warning about internet dating scams, having investigated the loss of £4m through this type of fraud in the past year.
With around ten million people in the UK already registered to use online dating sites, harassment, identity theft and other frauds committed against innocent people will continue to rise, unless users do everything they can to protect their privacy and become less of an easy target.
Swytch offers users of online dating services a temporary additional number that provides an additional layer of security against dating fraud.
Swytch, an app that allows you to have multiple UK mobile phone numbers on your existing smartphone, enables people to keep their main phone number private while using online dating services. Swytch users can have up to five additional mobile numbers on one mobile device, without additional SIM cards, all of which can be used for both incoming and outgoing calls and text messages.
Users of online dating services can now provide phone numbers safe in the knowledge that they can cancel a temporary number and prevent further communication if they suspect they are interacting with a fraudster, without having to change their main number.
Action Fraud and the Metropolitan Police warn that dating fraudsters are very sophisticated and can often be convincing, particularly if victims already think the person they are communicating with has been vetted by dating websites.
Although the Online Dating Association (ODA) has said that sites take a range of steps to vet potential members, it is critical that users of online dating sites take every step possible to protect their own privacy and safety while using online services.
Chris Michael, CEO and Co-Founder of Swytch, comments, “Users of dating services naturally want to have real conversations on the phone rather than just online. Swytch temporary numbers provide additional protection when people are conversing with others they don’t quite know, both online and in the real world.”