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People Love to Date So Would Scammers

November 6, 2014 | By  

Summary

Dating websites are fun and for some it gives a fairy tale ending. But today dating sites are not the fairytale they once were.

In recent times, users have complained about illegal auto-renewals, fake profiles, difficulties in cancellation, and leaked personal information.

People Love to Date

Dating Websites Scam

Standing at a net-worth of $2.1 billion, dating websites have turned into a paradise for millions of Americans trying to find love on the Web. And with millions of members, you are definitely going to experience some level of user complaints. Despite being a billion-dollar industry, dating websites are still young and there are no trust-worthy websites.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB), an independent non-profit organization, gathered around 3000 complaints nationally about online dating websites in 2013. The report saw a 40 percent increase from 2011 with majority of the complaints from Upper Peninsula and eastern Michigan.

With more and more people opting to date online, it is not a surprise to see increase in complaints. Dissatisfaction over illegal auto-renewals, cancellation process, phoney profiles, and leaked personal details are some of the complaints often lodged.  Some users have even filed lawsuits against few online dating sites.

Case Studies

JDI Dating     

Popular online dating site, JDI dating was levied a $616,165 fine by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) when the former was found using fake profiles to trick users into paid memberships.

The UK-based firm, operating globally via 18 sites, was accused of creating fake profiles to lure users into upgrading from free to paid membership. Users were also auto charged to renew their member subscriptions without their permission.

PlentyOfFish.com Scam

Sandi Campbell, a 51-year-old attorney and writer from Sterling Heights, was recently caught in the PlentyOfFish.com (POF) dating scam. About six months ago, Campbell joined the dating site. She soon started getting 200 calls, after checking the box that said it was OK to give out her mobile number.

The calls continued, but she did not like the type of responses she received. She was unable to delete her profile, and kept receiving the calls. Finally, she got rid of her mobile and swore to never go on a dating website again. She mailed POF to remove her profile from the site, but  hasn’t received any response from them yet.

Campbell is not the first member to report against POF. The BBB received around 70 complaints about the Canada-based dating site in 2013.

Dating websites Match.com has 800 complaints (the largest dating site in the world), with eHarmony at second with 383, and OKCupid at 41.

According to experts,  singles should investigate the names of dating sites they are considering to join in order to find out the site’s success rate and customer service reputation.

It is better to start with larger sites that have been in business for longer, double-check the safety  of the payment page, review privacy policies, and read the agreement terms before signing up.

It is similar to any other situation where you are spending money, you would definitely want to ensure the website is not going be a fraud.

Tips to Avoid Getting Cheated by Online Dating Websites

  • Before joining a dating site, do a complete online research or ask your friends about the popular dating sites.
  • Find out the website’s success rate. See the number of complaints the site has received, if any.
  • Join a dating website that is more than 5 years old.
  • If you are planing to choose a smaller site that is focused on a specific community, inquire to people who are active in the community about the its reputation.
  • Ensure the dating site’s payment page is secure. The URL should have HTTPS.
  • Review the website’s privacy policy twice.
  • Do not give into high-pressure business tactics. Test the website’s customer service by mailing them and see how long it takes to get a response. See how good it the reply is.
  • Understand the website’s membership cancellation policy. Also check how auto-renewal works.
  • If you sign a free trial membership, know whether you will be auto rolled into a paid membership.
  • Before checking “I Agree,” read thoroughly the agreement terms. Know what you are getting into.
  • Use a separate mail address for linking your online dating profile. Do not use the ID for other purposes. And do not include any personal details .

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