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He believes that these sites aren’t any safer and probably are even more susceptible to fraud and danger, because the close-knit culture of the sites breeds a false sense of security.

Speaking of microcommunities, location-based dating apps now tap into the GPS that’s on a user’s smartphone or tablet computer and help him/her to find a date in his/her location or vicinity, depending on the app.

These services cost and operate the same as traditional online dating services do, and they had an estimated 15 million users in North America by 2011, according to journalist Dan Slater, who wrote about the online dating industry in his 2013 book, “Love in the Time of Algorithms.” Niche dating websites market themselves by claiming that they already have culled the dating pool more precisely and, thus, have created a safer, like-minded, microcommunity of people who know what they seek in a companion.

However, niche dating websites aren’t immune to the fake profiles that you might find on a general dating website, says Andy Scott, who is a former law-enforcement officer and a co-founder of My Match, which performs background checks for online daters.

Most of these apps allow a user to share his/her exact location within a few hundred feet.

Gregory urges caution when you use location-based dating apps, because they allow strangers to know exactly where you are.Given the increasing precision with which online dating services attempt to connect you with new partners, you would think that they also employed increased precision in weeding out fake profiles. Experts say online dating services are pockmarked with abandoned, inactive or fake profiles, although the experts disagree about the extent of the problem—profiles that are set up by someone who is lying about his/her identity, using a false portrait in the profile or phishing for victims to take advantage of in a scam. Grisham, who is a blogger about online scams, believes that up to 40 percent of the profiles are fake.


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