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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The search for “the one” is just a click away these days.
“It’s kinda becoming a norm. It’s not weird anymore to say ‘yeah, I’m online dating,'” said Cristy Marrero.
Marrero met her current boyfriend of three years online.
Dating apps and websites like eHarmony and match.com have millions of subscribers, like Marrero, looking for love.
But looking for “the one” can also be dangerous.
Criminals are stalking singles as easy prey.
“There is always some kind of danger associated with dating apps these days. We keep hearing about some sort of scam or something happening to somebody,” said David Pedersen, the Senior Manager at Zoosk, which is the number one mobile dating app. “Listen, if there is a member that is dangerous, it’s not even a thought. We just take them off.”
But it could already be too late. The dating apps have GPS features which is how they pair you with singles in your area. On some sites, they identify people who are online as close as a few hundred feet away. Strangers can meet… with few details, besides a picture and a first name.
But Zoosk just implemented a safety measure called “Photo Verification.”
“It allows you to upload a second video of yourself. You send it in to the moderator and a human person looks at it and says does this line up with the photos you have on your profile and if it does then we give you a check mark saying you are photo verified,” said Pedersen.
The photo verification feature drastically minimizes the number of fake profiles on Zoosk.
“We’ve seen that it’s attracting more members because they know that if they speak to a person who has verified check mark they are going to meet that person.”
And the need for safer ways of meeting singles is becoming necessary with more and more people turning to dating websites and apps instead of bars and happy hours.
A new Pew Center study shows that 11 percent of American adults have dated someone they met online. That’s up 3 percent from 2008.
Marrero has always taken precautions when she was on the online dating scene.
“I had this one friend that I would tell about my date and I would just take a screen shot of the profile of the person or send her the link of the person’s profile and say I am going to be here from this time to this time and I’ll call you afterwards,” Marrero said.
Make sure you tell someone where you are and should also always meet someone in a public place and even suggest asking for identification to make sure the person you are meeting is who they say they are.