Personal VerificationOne of the main concerns among online daters is the credibility of the other users inhabiting each site. Anonymity is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to any type of online activity, but when it comes to finding romance on the web, secrecy and deception pose much more of a threat than they might in other online arenas. Thankfully, many of the top-rated online dating sites have become aware of the concerns their users have expressed and have taken measures to make their services a bit more personal and trustworthy. Although they usually vary from service to service, verification features are extremely handy in helping online daters avoid getting scammed or catfished. Safety should always be a top priority for those who participate in online dating, so making use of whichever means of personal verification available is always a good idea. We have the breakdown of which online dating sites offer personal verification tools, such as photo verification and social media plugins.

Photo verification

Perhaps the most commonly recognized form of online verification for online daters is the photo verification feature first introduced by Zoosk. Users who wish to have their profile pictures verified can upload what is referred to as a “selfie video,” a short clip that is focused on their face without any extraneous or distracting details in the background. Zoosk is able to look at the video and compare it to the profile photos that the user has uploaded and compare the two, making sure that the photos are an accurate representation of what the person actually looks like. Far too often, online daters have to deal with catfishing or fake profiles with stolen photos.

To avoid situations like this, users should be sure to take part in the photo verification feature whenever possible. For Zoosk users, being officially verified means that their personal profile will be rewarded with a badge icon, indicating to visitors that the site has in fact verified that they are who they claim to be in their photos. Another added bonus? It’s incredibly simple to do. To verify your photos, go to the verification section of your profile and select “Verify Photos.” There, you’ll be prompted to record your short selfie video that will be submitted and reviewed by moderators at Zoosk.

If you’d rather use another dating service, there’s another way for you to verify the photos of the person you’re chatting to or interested in. Google has a tool called reverse image search that allows you to search using an image. This means you can download someone’s photos or copy the image URL and plug them into the Google reverse image search to see if they appear anywhere else online. If the person is legitimate, their other online profiles, such as their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, will pop up. Conversely, if they’re a catfish or a fraud, the image search will pop up a bunch of online profiles with different names — a telltale sign of a catfish. This blog post shows you how to use Google’s image searching tool.

Serious problems can arise from misrepresentation on an online dating profile and may lead to a negative experience on the site itself, or for many, may even end up unfolding into a real-life dilemma. Photo verification has changed the game in terms of online dating safety regulations, making the entire community a much safer and more trustworthy place, as users now have the ability to verify whether the person they’re talking to is who they claim to be.

Help from social media

Similar to Zoosk, Tinder has employed a very simple means of verifying that its users are who they say they are. Because the app is connected through each user’s Facebook profile, it’s very easy for users to be verified and those who are currently using the site can rest assured that each profile they swipe through is as legitimate as you might find on Facebook. That said, it’s important to remember that it’s not impossible to create a fake Facebook account to link to a Tinder membership, so users should still remain a bit wary of sites where the only form of verification comes from the supplementary social media account connected to it.

Another, more proactive way to use social media as a form of personal verification is to do a bit of your own research. If you’ve found someone on your preferred online dating service that you’re interested in knowing better, try searching for their other social media accounts. Sites like Twitter and LinkedIn are a great starting place to compare information and photos to ensure the person you’re interested in is exactly who they claim to be.

There’s no such thing as “too safe” when it comes to Internet activity. Especially for online daters, any form of personal verification is not only helpful in starting an honest, legitimate relationship, but it’s a foolproof way to make sure you’re protecting yourself from catfishing, scammers and potential physical harm. While personal verification is a fairly new feature of online dating sites, it is quickly being accepted as a normal expectation.

Keep up with our online dating blog to learn more ways you can protect yourself as you dive into the online dating world.