A sign of the times, people now try and do just everything they can online. If you want to do it, there’s probably an app for that!
Tinder, an online dating app hosting upwards of 4 million users, can link to a Facebook account and use your information on the app. The app then links you to people nearby and you can scroll through and “like” someone. If you “like” someone and they reciprocate the action, then a match is made. Sounds great, right?
With online interaction, there’s always the chance for something malicious to go on. Recently, a UNC student who does not use the app, found out that there was a doppelganger on the app using a different name. As many of us have read in the past, Facebook has an issue with fake profiles. As I also explained previously, Facebook profiles can be linked to Tinder. It appears as if this is what happened to Ms. Shotwell of UNC.
Kristen Shotwell posted a blog post and is asking anyone out there to help her find this fake user, who goes by “Kim”. It appears as though someone created a fake Facebook account using stolen pictures of Kristen to create a new online persona of “Kim” which is currently being used as a Tinder dating profile. More than likely this is not an isolated case.
(Image courtesy of Kristen Shotwell’s blog post)
More and more fake profiles and accounts pop up all the time leading to more false information and impersonation. What’s scary about this is that with an app and dating utility like Tinder, you have no idea who you’re going to meet. Profiles like “Kim” could be anything from a written program to someone as extreme as a serial rapist. It’s important to make sure that when you engage in these sorts of social media that you are safe about it.
Fake profiles are just the tip of the iceberg though. Many of these fake profiles are fronts to distribute malware or viruses. According to an article by John Leyden of The Register, a chief security strategist at Bitdefender said, “After users swipe the right button on Tinder to indicate that they like a profile, the bots engage users in automated conversations until they convince them to click on a dubious link.”
Growing up in the digital age, many of us know that this is the prime way for people’s computers to be infected by malware or viruses. Sadly, even our phones are now being infected with these things and most of us are way more negligent with our data on our personal phones than on our desktops. Unfortunately, this is a lesson that many are learning the hard way as they are being infected and having their data and/or identities stolen.
The lessons to be learned here are rather clear. We should all be careful about what we click and how we use our online selves. Also, we should all be aware of what our parents have been warning us of for years, the internet is full of liars and cheats and not everyone is who they say they are. Be careful and exercise caution when using apps, especially if they are connecting you to real people in your area.