The Federal Trade Commission sued online dating service Match.com for using fake love interest ads and other deceptive practices to boost its number of subscribers, according to reporting by The Verge and other sources. This could be another case of online romance scamming, according to the complaint.
The complaint says,”hundreds of thousands of consumers subscribed to Match.com shortly after receiving a fraudulent communication.”
Non-subscribers were more likely to see messages from potentially fraudulent accounts and were encouraged to sign up for paid accounts on the service due to having a party “interested” in them only to learn after signing up for the paid subscription that the party who expressed interest is “unavailable.” The FTC claims by exercising this practice, Match preyed on customers who were “falling victim to a romance scam or other form of fraud.”
Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection goes on further to explain the position on fraud in a statement: “We believe that Match.com conned people into paying for subscriptions via messages the company knew were from scammers. Online dating services obviously shouldn’t be using romance scammers as a way to fatten their bottom line.”
Match is facing charges in the FTC lawsuit, including those related to its cancellation policy.
The FTC states the deceptive practices stopped in or around mid-2019, possibly sooner.
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About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers’ State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!