Let’s Stop Catfishing for Good

  • By Paul Numan
  • Posted 2 June 2022

Let’s Stop Catfishing for Good

Whether we like it or not, in 2022 when people are looking for love they gravitate to the Internet in order to find it. Dating apps lead the fray in this space but to even think that people are out there lying about who they are or people ready to defraud singletons on these apps is beyond belief. These single people are in a weird vulnerable situation as it is, as they have to open themselves up and let everyone know they are “single”, which in most countries is like having tuberculosis. They have to prepare their profile and then try and interact with fellow single folk in order to get the dating ball to roll. These singletons imagine the dating environment as real and safe but little do they know they could be falling for someone’s profile picture which is being administered by a completely different individual in real life – this is the classic form of catfishing. So how does this billion dollar dating industry stop or even want to stop this sinister act of illusion?

Well the banking sector has had similar problems with fraud but came together as one unit and addressed them head on together. Over the past 20 years they have seen an explosion of payment activity online and they have had to face up to the daily reality that fraud, charge backs and errors were eating into their profits and affecting people’s lives negatively. To combat this they started with a string of security measures that lead to 3D secure payments and then on to where it is today with App / SMS verification. This safety progression has largely solved online payment problems and fraud. The big question is why haven’t dating services and social media progressed in the same way to improve online safety but also to keep their users happy – the answer is money. They don’t want to change as they know that if they verify their user base correctly, they might lose 60 – 90% of their numbers. They also know if they adopt stringent measures to secure members from the likes of cat fishing or kitten fishing (lying about age, height, weight, occupation etc) – they might lose out to competitors who have less security measures. The main issue is something has to be done to stop this as it’s gone on too long and is the butt of many Hollywood movies as well as very unhappy customers.

The big elephant in the room is the question of whether online dating is about entertainment i.e browsing profiles to see which of your neighbors are newly single, or dating where you are serious about finding someone to form a relationship with or even to hook up with. The difference between these two industries is massive as one is about fun and the other is intimate, personal and serious. If dating is serious then it MUST stop all types of cheating and lying from the very start. There is no point in trying to solve this problem with a bit of sticky tape, it requires a major overhaul which is costly and an industry game changer for all.

The solution is live video profiling. There is no point in adopting picture verification as it is too easy to manipulate a photo or passport in photoshop or other editing software.  A live video performed during registration saying a few keywords like “Hi I’m Paul and I’m a Katch” is enough for the AI to understand the facial / body dimensions, movement and vocal frequency hertz. If in doubt the system would ask the user to perform another live video to validate the initial video. This solution would completely stop catfishing, kitten fishing, fraud bots, time wasters and also provide everyone a clear understanding of the new user’s personality.

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