POF recently added a new feature that affects all members that use the website to access the Plenty of Fish dating service. Members are now required to verify their account by providing their mobile phone number. When a member logs into the POF.com website they will see the page with the following request:
Please Verify your Account
We need to send you a text to verify that you're human. To help keep your account safe, we'll keep your number in case we need to re-verify you and make sure a stranger isn't trying to login. Don't worry though, that's all we ever use your number for.
So once you enter your number and click the "Get Started" button POF will then send you a text with a code which you enter in Step 2 of the verification process.
This type of authentication system is called 2 Step (or Multi-Factor) Authentication since you must not only login with your user name and password, but you also must receive a secret code from an alternate device and enter that information in as well.
Once you have received and entered the code and have been verified, POF.com will place a cookie via the internet browser (if it supports it) on the device you are using to access POF. Every time you log into POF, it will check for this cookie. If it is not found you will have to go through the verification process again. If you use a different device, you will have to also go through the verification process.
If you don't have a mobile phone that receives SMS text messages, you can contact Plenty of Fish customer care team to ask to have your account verified a different way.
Update 2020-02-15: POF Customer Care Team Email: CSR@pof.com
With the rise of scammers trying to cheat people out of money any way they can, most online services now days support some sort of additional authentication system. Connecting your Facebook account is one popular way but is not as reliable since Facebook accounts can be created with just an email address. POF requiring phone verification is a good step forward and will definitely help prevent scammers from joining the service. Since POF is free and can be used without providing payment details this is the only real next step for them. Plus POF has gone a step further by requiring the verification on any new device that is used by the account. This extra step ensures if someone some how gets a hold of your username and password, they will not be able to access your account since they would be required to verify it when they login. This extra step helps to prevent unauthorized account access.
Other services have even gone a step further in their quest to prevent scammers from creating accounts. Since 2016 Bumble has required new accounts to verify themselves with a selfie. When you join you are showen a picture of a hand gesture that you must match in the selfie. A combination of AI software and human moderators then look at the selfie photo to not only verify if the account is from a real person but if the photos they included with the profile are of the account holder.
For more information on this popular dating service you can read our POF.com review.