Romance scams are big business. In 2016, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 15,000 complaints, and victims’ financial losses exceeded $230 million — a fraction of the actual loss because only 15 percent of these types of crime are ever reported. Sadly, 82 percent of romance scam victims are women, and women over 50 are defrauded out of the most money.
Fraud like this involves emotional betrayal that can be even more painful when the scammer poses as a member of the military. By stealing just a few online photos of military personnel, scammers can create a false identity and exploit a service member’s honorable profession to gain the victim’s trust. It’s a deceitful act that can devastate lives.
Online Dating Sites Suffer Collateral Damage
While many romance scams are perpetrated from social sites like Facebook, online dating sites are a direct route for these scammers to reach their most vulnerable targets. And when customers of dating sites fall prey to these scams, they often blame the dating site, which hurts the brand’s reputation and is bad for business.
Zoosk, a global dating community with 40 million online profiles, saw the pain this was causing its customers and decided to tackle the problem head-on by launching Insignia, a program that fights back against military romance scams through military verification and increased awareness.
Zoosk members who are in the military can earn the Insignia badge by having their pictures verified and submitting their branch of service and driver license information. Sheer ID’s Digital Verification Platform provides instant validation of their military status, and verifies their eligibility for a gated offer that provides a 20% discount when they subscribe.
Daniel Mori, Zoosk’s VP of Marketing and Communications, shares why he chose SheerID’s military verification to prevent romance scams by military impersonators.
Zoosk’s Insignia program is good business. Using military verification builds loyalty and trust among the military consumer segment, which has more than thirty-one million consumers and $1 trillion in buying power.
But the company says the Insignia program’s greater purpose is to express the brand’s commitment to authenticity and transparency, and to support and protect the honor and valor of the military personnel who are using their platform. It also gives Zoosk members peace-of-mind that the soldier they fancy is verified military.
The Insignia program has put Zoosk at the forefront of combating military romance scams, protecting potential victims from the financial and emotional trauma of falling prey to a catfisher posing as a person in uniform. Military verification from SheerID makes it possible.
Leading Brands Engage the Military with Gated Offers
Online dating sites aren’t the only ones benefiting from the increased business and positive brand awareness that comes from honoring the military with gated offers.
Verified military discounts are at the heart of T-Mobile’s successful T-Mobile ONE™ Military program, a multi-faceted military support initiative. The company not only offers 50 percent discounts on family lines for all military and veterans, they also support career readiness programs, and actively recruit and hire veterans and military spouses. These and other investments T-Mobile has made in their military customer segment are starting to pay off, both in revenue and customer loyalty.
Lowe’s has built successful marketing programs around their military customer loyalty program using email, radio commercials and in-store advertising. Since partnering with SheerID for military verification, they’ve doubled their email open rates and increased their click-through rates by 4x.