Dating service lawsuits
In its first law enforcement action against an online dating service, the Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement that prohibits JDI Dating Ltd., an England-based company, from using fake, computer-generated profiles to trick users into upgrading to paid memberships and charging these members a recurring monthly fee without their consent.
The settlement also requires the defendants to pay 6,165 in redress.
However, users were unable to respond to these messages without upgrading to a paid membership.
Membership plans cost from to per month, with subscriptions generally ranging from one to 12 months.
The defendants offered a free plan that allowed users to set up a profile with personal information and photos.
As soon as a new user set up a free profile, he or she began to receive messages that appeared to be from other members living nearby, expressing romantic interest or a desire to meet.
To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.The lawsuit alleges "thousands" of pictures of celebrities, soldiers, and adult actresses have been taken off social media sites like Facebook and used to create fake profiles, even though those people were never members of Match's dating sites.Further, the lawsuit claims that an "extensive investigation" of complaints made by hundreds of possible plaintiffs revealed that fraud is also being committed against subscribers because they are paying user fees to "criminals" working in Nigeria, Ghana, and Russia.“JDI Dating used fake profiles to make people think they were hearing from real love interests and to trick them into upgrading to paid memberships,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.“Adding insult to injury, users were charged automatically to renew their subscriptions – often without their consent.” According to a complaint filed by the FTC, JDI Dating and William Mark Thomas operate a worldwide dating service via 18 websites, including cupidswand.com, and