30 October, 2013

Looking after our customers

As the UK’s largest online dating service provider, we take the safety and security of members very seriously. Our approach to online dating safety is three-fold: we implement moderation, member support and safety guidance. Collectively these processes work to monitor and remove disreputable members from our platform to protect the safety of our consumers.

Moderation

When a new user signs up to any site on our platform, our team of trained moderators screen all user-generated content to confirm profiles submitted are genuine. This involves analysing pictures, profiles, diary entries, videos and initial private messages to ensure membership qualifying criteria are met for the individual site or network. However, moderators also examine all of these elements to weed out any profile that is not genuine.

Recognisable ‘scammers’, who use multiple, subtle and devious techniques to attempt to bypass security measures and gain access to our dating sites, are then removed instantly when identified. ‘Question mark scammers’ will sometimes pass the rigorous site rules but may still leave our moderators with a degree of doubt - maybe they’re just sending so many messages to other members because they’re really keen! In instances like this when a profile is not definitively identifiable as a scammer, they will be marked as suspicious and repeatedly monitored until the team are able to determine whether they are a legitimate member or not.

Scammer techniques are becoming increasingly sophisticated: To allow us to detect them effectively, we use advanced automated techniques that recognise suspicious behavioural patterns; these work alongside our moderation team. In cases when these behavioural patterns are identified, suspicious profiles are quarantined by our system and moderators are notified. The moderation team then manually check flagged profiles and take appropriate action, including but not limited to the removal of non-genuine profiles.

Moderators also look for genuine members who mistakenly believe they can encourage other members to contact them by sending their private details in profiles and pictures; this is often to avoid paying a subscription fee to contact another member. This behaviour can be dangerous as it places contact details in a public domain, away from the protection of our security team. When these instances are detected, the team remove any personal details and notify the member accordingly.

Member safety advice

Links to online dating safety advice can be found in the footer of every one of our sites to guide members through the online dating process both whilst they seek partners online and when they decide to take their relationship offline too; all recommendations have been drawn from highly reputable sources, including the police.

Ultimately, the online dating advice we provide is intended to ensure that members feel comfortable and in control at all times, to advise if alarm bells start to ring in conversation (for example, being asked to give out bank details) and to protect members from giving away too much personal information.

When a member gets to the stage that they’re ready to meet someone, we offer tips for making safe arrangements, taking precautionary steps to ensure their personal safety and maintaining awareness of the nearest safe exit from any situation they are uncomfortable with.

Member support and customer care

Our member support team work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. If any of our members have concerns either online or offline, we ask that they use the ‘Report this member’ button which appears on every profile on our network.

Our moderation and fraud team investigate all reported profiles within twenty minutes of being reported and remove anyone they feel is a threat to another member or has broken the rules of membership.

As the dating landscape continues to expand and technology evolves, we are continuously exploring new ways to best safeguard the online dating consumer, whether that’s providing innovative customer care techniques or adapting the latest software. The safety and security of our members is of the utmost importance to us and that’s why we make an effort to support our members in the most effective way currently possible.

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