Online dating is getting a tad trickier because you never quite know what you’ll find — especially now that dating has gone mobile. Case in point, Tinder has been in the spotlight in recent months because many people go on for dating and later find out that they are being set up with prostitutes.
A recent report from Symantec detailed the many scams that have been on the platform. The company says a new update should help cut down on the shady behavior, but that doesn’t address the concern that a prostitute or escort could come up. Many escorts are evading the profile information and include services — and prices — in text over the profile image. Some spammers spark up conversation and lead people to webcam sites, while others try to direct users to mobile games — such as this Castle Clash scam — and other adult websites.
“If a user manually inputs one of the URLs listed on the image overlay into their address bar and visits the site, they will be redirected to an explicit personals website for casual dating and hookups,” explained security response manager Satnam Narang.
“My brother who works in Manhattan was matched with a fellow New Yorker and chatted with her for a few days when she asked to meet up with him,” Katherine Wolfgang wrote in Elon University’s student newspaper last year. “Within 10 minutes of the date she mentioned her going rate, and my brother realized that he was on a date with a prostitute.”
According to this article, a Brooklyn-based Tinder user said he finds profiles advertising sexual services in one out of every 30 to 40 swipes. Totally cool if you’re into that sort of thing, but a big bummer if you’re looking for a legitimate dating experience.
Bumping into an escort via an online dating service is nothing new. In fact, there are many platforms — ahem, Booty Call? — that are more into “casual” experiences than actual dating.
Seeking out the real deal online? Stick to eHarmony.com or Match. There are also other new mobile dating apps such as Happn, Coffee Meets Bagel or Highlight that may be promising. We can’t promise, however, that you won’t stumble upon someone looking for work.