Romance Scams Con People Out Of More Money Than Any Other Type of Consumer Fraud

Scams
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Romance Scams

You swipe right on someone special on a dating app. You start communicating, and soon they want to move the conversation off the app to email or phone calls. The relationship progresses. You can feel yourself falling for them. They tell you they love you. But they live far away — as close as you think you’ve become, you’ve never actually met in person.

Then they ask you for money. They say it’s for a family emergency. Or an unexpected medical expense. Or a plane ticket to finally visit you. Their scam is almost complete.

Millions of men and women turn to online dating services to meet someone. But instead of finding the love of their life, many find a scammer trying to dupe them out of money. In 2018, people reported losing $143 million to romance scams — a higher total than for any other type of scam reported to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, an online database of millions of consumer complaints.

Andrey Andreev Sells His Stake in Parent Company of Bumble and Badoo

Magic Lab
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Blackstone Acquires Majority Stake in MagicLab
Blackstone Acquires Majority Stake in MagicLab

Russian billionaire Andrey Andreev is ending his relationship with MagicLab, the company that owns Bumble, Badoo, Chappy and Lumen. Andreev is set to sell his majority stake in MagicLab to Blackstone in a deal that values the company at $3 billion. As part of the transaction, Andreev will step away from the business and Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd will take over as CEO.

In a prepared statement, Andreev said:

Blackstone presented MagicLab with a great opportunity to further develop the brands and platform, and I am confident Blackstone will take MagicLab to the next level in terms of growth and expansion. I am incredibly proud of the company, and of how we have connected millions of people around the world. At MagicLab, I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best and most talented entrepreneurs. My aim now is to ensure a smooth and successful transition before I embark on a new business venture in search of innovative leaders with new and exciting ideas. I am grateful for all the support of my partners and employees over the years as we couldn’t have gotten to this point without them. I wish MagicLab and Blackstone every success.

POF Adds Phone Verification to their Website

POF (Plenty of Fish)
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POF recently added a new feature that affects all members that use the website to access the Plenty of Fish dating service. Members are now required to verify their account by providing their mobile phone number. When a member logs into the POF.com website they will see the page with the following request:

Please Verify your Account

We need to send you a text to verify that you're human. To help keep your account safe, we'll keep your number in case we need to re-verify you and make sure a stranger isn't trying to login. Don't worry though, that's all we ever use your number for.

So once you enter your number and click the "Get Started" button POF will then send you a text with a code which you enter in Step 2 of the verification process.

Hornet Plans To Combat Catfishing With Profile Verification Badges

Profiles
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If you’ve ever spoken to someone on a dating app and thought, “This person is too good to be real,” you are not alone... and you might be right. The virtual world is full of scammers and other shady characters, including the notorious “catfish” — a person who creates a fictitious online identity to lure unsuspecting mates on dating services. The ever-increasing popularity of online dating means that catfishing, too, is increasing at an alarming rate, and more and more singles are falling victim to the cons.

Hornet has a solution. In a bid to stop would-be fraudsters in their tracks, the popular gay dating app has announced that will let users earn a badge of authenticity, akin to the blue checkmarks of verified profiles on Instagram and Twitter. Hornet is the first major gay dating app to intoduce a veification symbol to identify genuine users.

Match Group Stock Take a Hit as Company Misses Revenue Goals 

Match Group
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Shares of Match Group fell 15 percent after the company announced it will miss revenue goals for the fourth quarter. Shares of IAC also fell by 11 percent, according to Reuters.

The company expects fourth quarter revenue to be between $545 and $555 million, short of the $559.3 million goal according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

This news comes on the heels of a complaint filed by the U.S. Federal Trading Commission that Match Group offered fake profiles to entice customers to purchase paid subscriptions to its services, among other “deceptive and unfair practices,” as said in the lawsuit. Match Group is also facing legal entanglements with former Tinder employees, including founder Sean Rad, who said the company cheated him out of rightful payment after undervaluing his stock options.

Hinge Launches New Podcast “Ghost Stories”

Hinge
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Host of Ghost Stories: Sydnee Washington
Host of Ghost Stories: Sydnee Washington
Image: Hinge

Dating app Hinge launched a new podcast in time for Halloween - appropriately called “Ghost Stories.” The podcast aims to try to get to the bottom of why people ghost, featuring real-life participants.

Ghosting happens when the person you’ve been messaging or dating suddenly disappears, not responding to texts or calls, and leaves you wondering what happened. For daters, this is a frustrating experience that begs the question: “did I do something wrong?”

The podcast aims to get to the bottom of why people ghost and offer ways to avoid the experience. Each episode also features a “ghostee” who will be able to confront the person who ghosted them, and therefore get an opportunity for answers.