With over 323 million dating app users worldwide, a study finds that location spoofing poses a threat to user trust and safety
PALO ALTO, Calif., Aug. 02, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Pioneer of mobile identity incognito announced today the publication of the results of their first Location Spoofing Mobile App Study: Dating Edition. The study was conducted to test how vulnerable mobile dating apps are to location spoofing. The report examined 24 top mobile dating apps worldwide including: Tinder, Hinge, eHarmony, Match, OkCupid, Grindr and more.
In the US, the Federal Trade Commission has reported a $549 million loss to love scams in 20211 that is 80% more than in the previous year. Scammers use fake personas and impersonation to “fish” unsuspecting users, targeting dating apps for financial gain. The latest Incognia Location Spoofing Mobile App Study of Dating Apps analyzes how dating apps use user location to provide potential suitors and how those apps are vulnerable to location spoofing. The lack of location spoofing detection capabilities is a concern as it allows scammers to target users anywhere, putting 323 million users worldwide at risk.
There are five main methods scammers use to spoof location: VPNs and proxies, GPS spoofing apps, emulators, instrumentation tools, and app manipulation. The Incognia Mobile App study found that 80% of tested dating apps asked users to share location and 37% of apps that requested location could be easily spoofed via GPS. The study found that 50% of dating apps in North America and APAC could be spoofed using GPS spoofing apps. Remarkably, none of the dating apps tested by EMEA could be GPS-spoofed.
“With 3 in 10 US adults using a dating app, ensuring user safety and trust is critical as catfishing and scam attempts increase,” said André Ferraz, Founder and CEO of Incognia. “Dating and social apps are vulnerable to scammers who spoof their location in order to appeal to a wider group of users. These apps are subject to location spoofing attempts by scammers that can lead to financial theft, trust and security issues.”
To conduct this study, Incognia first downloaded each app onto an Android device, created a new user account, and observed whether the app asked the user to share their location and also whether the app displayed the user’s location. Next, a GPS spoofing app was used to spoof the user’s location and it was observed whether the app detected the spoofed location or the user’s real location. More sophisticated methods such as app manipulation were not tested for this report.
Key data points from the report include:
80% of the tested apps asked the user to share their location. None of the apps provided a message that the user’s location was used for fraud prevention.
37% of apps that requested location could easily be spoofed via GPS.
50% of apps in North America and APAC could be GPS fake.
None of the tested apps from EMEA could be GPS spoofed.
To read the full report and analysis, please Download the Incognia Mobile App Location Spoofing Report.
To support trust and security, Incognia offers a free location spoofing audit to any business offering location-based services through a mobile app. Sign up for a free location spoofing audit to get an estimate of how much location spoofing is happening in your app.
Incognia is a privacy-centric location identity company providing frictionless mobile identity and authentication solutions for fraud prevention, trust and security. Deployed in over 200 million devices, Incognia delivers a highly accurate risk signal with ultra-low false positive rates to banks, fintech social, gaming and mCommerce companies to reduce fraud losses, increase mobile revenue and increase trust and to support user safety. Incognia’s award-winning technology uses location signals and motion sensors to recognize trusted users based on their unique background behavior patterns and is a key enabler of zero-factor authentication.
Incognia is privately held and headquartered in Palo Alto, California with teams in New York and Brazil.
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Madeline Kalicka, Karbo Communications for Incognia
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