We are back this week with another way to prevent the uprising in romance scams with past podcast guest, Scott Bright! Join Celeste and Scott as they explore how his company, BrightCheck, can help you protect yourself from catfish, romance scams, and involving yourself with people you otherwise wouldn’t.
They also discuss why we need to normalize background checks, what makes BrightCheck different, and the importance of adding additional layers of safety to online dating. This episode is a not-miss for anyone who wants to have peace of mind as they date!
In this week’s episode, we discuss:
[01:36] About Scott Bright
[02:31] What is BrightCheck?
[06:05] The importance of up-to-date data on background checks
[07:45] The romance scam industry
[10:04] Online safety bills
[14:48] The pricing of BrightCheck & verification checkmarks
[18:42] The partnership with Match Group
[20:36] The problems with online dating
[22:30] Human trafficking
[24:27] The information you need from a person to get their background check
[28:26] Adding layers of safety to online dating
[30:48] There needs to be a normalization of background checks
[35:00] Sign up for BrightCheck
[36:08] Scott’s favorite date
About Scott Bright
Scott Bright has over 20 years of experience in risk mitigation. As a former head of global risk strategy at Visa, he spent many years creating solutions to stop fraudsters and bad actors in various sectors. He is a frequent speaker at prominent conferences on risk threats and global lands and is known for his ability to create personalized user experiences that can scale quickly. He now puts his focus on the online dating space to stop the growing threat of romance scams and help protect eaters from “bad actors” by creating a new app, BrightCheck.
What is BrightCheck?
BrightCheck is a personal verification background check that is mostly used for online dating but can be used for social marketplaces and meeting people in real life. They include 3 important checks:
-An anti-catfish check: which verifies the authenticity of a person as well as their marital status.
-Real-time criminal data: This is a big differentiator between some of the other background checks that are out there. Some are pulling data from 5 years ago, BrightCheck shows if you got arrested last week.
-Social check: this verifies which top social media platforms that someone is associated with. This is a good early warning detection because if there’s no online presence, it is probably not a real person.
BrightCheck does a full national check of a person and in the upcoming changes to this tool, Scott plans to implement “risk scores” and connect people’s social media photos, profiles, and even mugshots so you know exactly what you are getting into.
The importance of up-to-date data on background checks
Most of the data that is given when you run a background check on someone is from 5 years ago, rarely is it up to date. This poses a public safety concern because it now gives this person a false sense of validation. What if someone has a few DUIs in the last few years, that were not shown, and then you got into the car with them and were injured? This is why Scott’s company found that there is a need to have up-to-date data. They want to implement tools to cut through the noise and show people the relevant data so they can make an informed decision from there.
The romance scam industry
In 2023, The Fair Trade Commission said that the romance scam industry had grown to 1.5 billion dollars. This was up 4x from the years before. We are on an upward trend and now people are implementing other scams such as crypto scams with romance scams which makes it a 3.3 billion dollar loss. But that is only what is reported, many people are embarrassed and they never say anything. This is why BrightCheck came to fill this space that desperately needed some help.
Online safety bills
Scott shares that there are a couple of relevant bills. The UK online safety bill says that dating platforms need to enforce terms and conditions. They need to say that they cannot be a felon or on the sex offenders list. There is also the US online safety bill which is going to require a dating app platform to notify people if they have been connected with someone who is a “bad actor” (such as someone who has been convicted of various crimes). Then BrightCheck can use all of that information and create an early warning detection
The pricing of BrightCheck & verification checkmarks
Scott shares that they are compressing the prices so that every demographic has access to it. In the future, they might have a subscription model or other types of pricing that can be offered to every type of person. He also wants to bring the checkmark, with actual background check identifiers, across all platforms. It would be great to have this check and then other people would not have to worry about accessing your background. Many profiles that currently have checkmarks usually just pay for them and there is no real identification happening.
The partnership with Match Group
BrightCheck just solidified its partnership with Match Group, the company that owns various online dating apps, to have their technology on their platforms. These companies are taking safety seriously and they want to be able to help their users. Hopefully, in the future, this technology will be embedded into all online dating platforms to create a ubiquitous safety and security net.
The problems with online dating
Celeste shares the statistic that around 25% of people who are on online dating apps should not be on there. Scott predicts that the US government is going to bring safety and security into the online dating space soon. He shares that all of these criminals do not stop, they go to different avenues to get their money. These bad actors are not going away, this is why we need security in these areas that do not provide it.
Celeste shares that human trafficking is not something that is happening in a faraway place, it is happening in high schools and places you would never think of. This is why it is important to know who you are talking to, no matter what the context or where you are at.
The information you need from a person to get their background check
Scott shares that all you need is someone’s first name and phone number to pull their background check with BrightCheck. He also shares that he and his team previously made assumptions thinking that it would be mostly women running background checks. They found that this is around 50/50 and that men want to see who they are meeting as well. Both men and women are actively checking on their potential dates.
Adding layers of safety to online dating
Scott and Celeste discuss that this is not a magic bullet but it is an additional layer of safety. It also helps to open up conversations around vulnerable topics. Scott shares that with the upcoming changes to the app, there will be connections to their social media accounts and you can see the type of person that they are, which goes deeper than criminal records. Every relationship should start open and honest because if not, it is doomed from the start.
There needs to be a normalization of background checks
Scott shares that there are people who are vocal about not wanting background checks to be the standard. He says that this is oftentimes from people who have criminal backgrounds themselves. Some people also might think that it’s “too much” and we should not be gaining this information. Scott says that background checks need to be normalized and that we will start to see this normalization over the next few years.
As with anything, in the beginning, people do not want change. He remembers when new banking laws went into effect and people were outraged and thought that it was invasive. Once people see this as something that will help their safety and security, they will be more open to it.
Sign up for BrightCheck
Celeste shares that she is very passionate about BrightCheck and feels that it is a necessity for dating. She reminds us that this is our safety we are talking about and this can really help us prevent some of those unsafe circumstances we may have found ourselves in.
Scott’s favorite date
Scott shares that he had a date with his fiance in Napa where they had a beautiful picnic, left their phones in the car, and connected. They are both very busy and find it difficult to unplug and he notices that his favorite dates are when they do just that.
Connect with Scott: