People often ask us about security on Stitch. So much so that we recently published a help document outlining why we ask people to verify their identities on Stitch, which you can read here.
The reason we ask our members to verify their identities is to keep our community safe. Scammers take millions of dollars from adults over 50 every year, and we want to prevent this from happening to our members.
Did you know that in 2011, U.S. victims of romance scams reported a cumulative loss of over $50 million? Of this, $35 million were stolen from adults over 50 years of age (NBC news). In the same year, the U.K. reported that over 200,000 residents lost millions of dollars to romance scams (Telegraph news). Furthermore, in 2013, Australia lost over $25 million to romance scams (ABC news).
As you can see, these scams are far more prevalent than you can even imagine. In fact, several of our Stitch members have been victims of romance scams on other websites in the past. One of our members, Eleanor, shared her story with us:
I met a man on [a dating website] and he was just the perfect gentleman. I wrote on my profile that I liked going on hikes and love wine tastings, and he said he had the same interests. So, he asked me on a lunch date, and we met up in person. We dated for several weeks – he took me to romantic dinners and we went on a hike together. He really seemed to be my perfect guy and had every quality I was looking for. One night he took me to a beautiful dinner and we planned a trip to Napa Valley together to go wine tasting. Well, that was the last time I saw him. He suddenly stopped answering my calls and it wasn’t until a week had passed that I decided to search his name online to see if I could find another way to contact him… I thought something terrible had happened to him. Well, as it turns out, he had been lying about who he was the whole time! The man who showed up online as having his birthdate, name, hometown – it was a different person completely. I couldn’t believe it. Then, I later found out he had stolen a check from my purse!
We have caught many, many scammers and con-artists alike trying to become members on Stitch, and it is utterly shocking how many are out there. But we will not back down in this battle. For all of these reasons, we have implemented a strong security system in which members are required to verify their identities before communicating with others on Stitch.
On Stitch, you can verify your identity in one of two ways. One is via our Personal Details option, which allows you to input a few pieces of information to prove your identity. The second is our Photo Check option, in which you can use your webcam to take photos of your photo ID and your face to verify that you are who you say you are. Both of these processes keep your information private, and your personal data is never seen by others. Our two verification options are processed via two secure third-party vendors, Blockscore and Jumio, which you can read more about in our help article here.
We are confident that scammers will not pass through these security barriers that we have created, and we are so happy that we have (and will continue) to prevent stories like Eleanor’s from happening on Stitch.
UPDATE (September 17, 2015): We now have another way to verify your identity. We have added a question and answer option that does not require a government ID. We hope this will allow for easier verification for our members.
What do you think about online scams? What are your stories? Leave your comments below.