A Newcastle woman has been praised for her pioneering work in stamping out catfishing in the online dating world after her own troubling experience.
Elaine Parker is the North East Founder and CEO of Safer Date, the only dating app in the world to make ID and criminal background checks mandatory for users.
Safer Date was founded in 2020 after Elaine had her own traumatic experience at the hands of a man she met online.
The founder said: “After researching the legal standards of the dating industry, I shockingly found that there were none.
"It’s disturbing just how fast these sites have become a haven for emboldening fraudsters and criminals, including sex offenders, to manipulate anonymity for their own personal gain.
“Safer Date is currently the only dating app to carry out ID checks, global criminal background checks, insolvency checks, and addicts register checks on every applicant, regardless of gender.”
The app comes with a range of elements that guarantees transparency for users.
In addition to thorough background checks, Safer Date prevents users from being spammed with messages by only allowing one request to be sent to anyone that they have not yet matched with, and also tackles the problem of ghosting with a unique goodbye feature.
Elaine's work in tackling anonymity and fake profiles online has been recognised by the Regional Economic Crime Coordination Centre (RECCC) who presented Elaine with a certificate of RECCC-ognition for playing a part in keeping the North East safe from the threat of Economic Crime.
Paddy O'Keefe, Detective Sergeant at the RECCC, said: “Economic crime poses a huge risk to the UK and our communities; the scale of the threat means it is one that cannot be tackled solely through arrests and investigations by law enforcement.
"As a result, our approach is broader working to protect the public by raising awareness of the threats and the steps they can take to keep safe.
“Those who date online can be targeted by criminals who purport to be someone they are not. T
"herefore, we recognise the fantastic efforts Elaine has made through Safer Date to increase transparency for people communicating on her site and provide processes of verification for the users.
"This goes hand in hand with our principles of reducing risk of economic crime in the North East and making it a safer place to work and live."