We’ve all either heard of or experienced our own dating horror stories and sadly with dating apps and websites providing access to thousands of different people, an uncomfortable date every so often is somewhat inevitable. Unfortunately, for some, it gets worse than just an awkward experience, and we don’t have to look far to find evidence of this.
Of course, not all dates go quite this drastically wrong, and as most psychologists will agree, there’s usually a build-up of smaller offenses before things reach the aforementioned point. Similarly, with online dating scams, it’s not a quick hit, grab the cash, and run; there’s a process: first, the scammer makes contact, then they build trust, then they start asking for small amounts to cover unexpected emergencies, and then there’s the big hit -- a request for a larger sum of money to cover travel expenses so they can finally visit to meet their one true love. It’s sick and it’s heartbreaking, and unfortunately, this type of scam isn’t rare. In fact, recent figures from The Federal Bureau of Investigations found that dating scammers defrauded their victims out of approximately $1 billion USD in 2021.
So how can people protect themselves from these scams? Currently, and aside from being alert and aware, there’s no single tool that provides insight into the stranger you’re talking to on an app. Instead, people have to go through the process of talking to, meeting, and vetting these strangers themselves -- which brings inherent dangers into the picture. So what could solve this problem? According to Kaloyan Valentinov Danchev, President of Fidelis Marketing Group and author of “My Gift to The World”, it’s a fairly simple idea, but it could go a long way in adding another layer of protection against scammers and others with bad intentions.
Essentially, the solution would be a date rating app that enables users to rate their dates at any stage of interaction. If a person is attempting to scam someone else on the platform, for example, the other person could leave feedback on the profile of this user while simultaneously reporting them. If a person has been out on a date with a person who made aggressive advances, this could also be reported. Similarly, if a date goes well and the other person is… well normal, or at least nice, this would also be reported.
As ratings come in, the app would collate these to come up with an average score to be applied in a star system, with the option for future dates to read through comments of past dates for additional context. This way, individuals can determine whether an off-putting aspect of a date is subjective, or whether they have some other quirk that might mean they’re incompatible.
Of course, there are some drawbacks to this type of app, and it is imperative that we have safeguards against misuse. Having the option to rate only after a verified online interaction or date would be one way in which ratings could be proven legitimate. This would mean the ability to integrate with each dating platform, so users can verify their initial contact, their date plans, and then rate each other afterward. This capability would also add another layer of protection, as there would be a third-party record that shows the date took place. To take security a step further, interactions could be backed up within the date rating app, and additional fields could be added to show where the pair plan to meet, and at what time.
Although there would still be a need for individuals to be alert and to watch for red flags, this type of tech could completely change the landscape of online dating. Scammers could quickly be reported and others warned, and instead of slinking off and harassing somebody else, perpetrators of bad behavior could be held accountable -- both in terms of being made aware of which aspect of their behavior was bad, and in terms of harming prospects for future dates. We have the technological capabilities to make this kind of app, so why haven’t we done it yet?