Online dating sites have seen an increase in lawsuits in the past few years. No one can deny the major success of online dating, but with millions of subscribers and users around the world, these sites have also become a hunting ground for online criminals and internet scammers.
The growing number of victims have resulted in demands that the dating sites should be accountable for risks and potential damages from scams and fraud. Match.com has almost 800 complaints in consumer affairs, ranking it among other dating sites that are considered potentially dangerous to use.
The most recent case involves a Florida resident and a group of other plaintiffs who have filed a class action lawsuit against Match.com for $1.5 Billion, stating that the site allegedly allowed thousands of fake profiles and pictures to be used.
There is a big difference between this lawsuit and the ones filed before. The plaintiffs are not users of Match.com, but instead are victims who have had their pictures and information uploaded into fake profiles on the site to attract or scam new users.
Most dating services work under subscription. Users post their personal profiles for a monthly or annual fee. The dating sites have an agreement that each user needs to approve in order to use the site, in which the user states he/she is using real information.
However, most dating sites do not attempt to verify the information provided by a member or subscriber. Thus, people lie or exaggerate their profiles, and criminals are free to create whatever profile they want to attract their victims.
The lawsuit is just the tip of the iceberg. Creating fake internet profiles is a matter of seconds, whether it´s a dating site, Yahoo, Facebook or any other site. The big issue is how to protect yourself.
Is it really the responsibility of sites like Match.com to perform dating background checks on every user? Most experts caution that even if sites do take a proactive approach to reduce the risk, it's up to the consumer to be cautious, and to contact a reputable private investigation company as needed.
So, the next time you meet Mr. or Ms. Perfect online, whether it's an online dating website or a social networking site, remember that there's more to the story than just a nice profile. Be safe, never send money to anyone you've never met, protect your private data, understand the risks online, and consider a professional background check before you start planning the big wedding!