TeleSign has helped Tinder protect its user accounts and strengthen its global brand through a combination of real-time risk analysis of phone numbers attached to user accounts and SMS-based verification techniques—decreasing spam on the social app by 90 percent.
Tinder burst onto the social media scene in 2012 as a matchmaking mobile app. Its geolocation technology allows users to set a specific radius and match with anyone that is within that distance. Tinder exploded to over a million users in its first few months and has grown exponentially ever since. With tens of millions of active users, the company processes more than a billion swipes daily. On average, accounts are created for more than 25 million people a day.
With such massive growth, Tinder needed to ensure the authenticity and integrity of its fast-growing user accounts. Any mobile app will have problems with fraudulent accounts at the beginning and Tinder was no exception. It needed to ensure its API was secure and authenticating properly, protect the security of its users, prevent fraudulent registrations and defend the system from the malicious activity of bots and spammers.
Tinder CTO Ryan Ogle had decided from day one that security was a top priority and felt strongly about protecting the brand and the user base.
“Security has always been of the utmost importance to us,” Ogle explains. “After our user base boomed, we decided that we wanted to increase our ability to ensure integrity and authenticity to make our system and users even more secure.”
Originally, Tinder intended to build some of these protections in-house, but when it learned about the extensive features and deep network of TeleSign’s solutions, Ogle decided to partner with a team of experts.
“The network that TeleSign has is an enormous advantage and it is exactly what we needed,” says Ogle. “It is a huge feat to categorize the millions of phone numbers out there and that’s something we could never do. It’s really impressive and has been a great pairing for us.”
Tinder needed a third party that would authenticate the phone numbers that are attached to new user signups and alert and notify of any suspicious activity. When a new user joins Tinder, they are allowed to create an account and login via Facebook sign-in. However, if a new account seems suspicious, it will then be required to go through an extra level of verification to ensure they are a real, legitimate user.
That’s where Tinder uses TeleSign’s PhoneID and SMS Verification products to get an accurate rating of how potentially risky a phone number is—if the score is high, then the user is blocked.
TeleSign analyzes massive volumes of real-time and historical data on phone numbers, including associated contact information, phone types, geographies and carriers. Scoring includes risk levels and recommendations for how to handle accounts. The result is a reputation score that represents the risk level and helps Tinder decide when to allow, challenge and/or block transactions associated with any given phone number. Tinder can verify that the number truly belongs to the user creating the account. In addition, TeleSign’s client services team recommended that Tinder implement rate limits. This ensures that a limit is set for the amount of accounts created utilizing the same phone number.
“Once we had TeleSign in place, we were able to block fraudulent accounts in a much more sophisticated way. It’s been 100 percent accurate and we’ve seen about a 90 percent reduction in spam traffic as a result, from day one,” Ogle explains.
TeleSign’s verification uses a time-based one-time passcode (TOTP) sent over SMS to ensure that the phone number registered to the account is legitimate and not a fraudster attempting to create fake accounts. These capabilities are delivered via a REST API and easily integrated into Tinder’s existing proprietary processes and workflows.
“Further validating the TeleSign solution, of the 196 countries in which Tinder verifies and authenticates users, we’ve seen close to 20 percent greater delivery rate than with our previous vendor,” says Ogle. Ogle continues, “A month after implementing TeleSign we saw a significant drop in the amount of phone numbers the algorithm recommended to block.
“Using TeleSign strengthens our brand, protects our users and saves on support costs. It’s had a significant impact on our business on many levels,” concludes Ogle.