Dating websites fined thousands for fake profiles

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The Federal Trade Commission has fined an online dating company, claiming it was deceptive in its marketing.

The FTC alleges that England-based JDI Dating tricked users into signing up for services by displaying fake, computer-generated profiles as potential dating matches. The company also “[tricked] users into upgrading to paid memberships and charging these members a recurring monthly fee without their consent.”

The official complaint and injunction orders JDI Dating to pay $616,165.

Sample fake, computer-generated “Virtual Cupid” profile on one of defendants’ websites. [FTC]

Sample fake, computer-generated “Virtual Cupid” profile on one of defendants’ websites. [FTC]

JDI claims they have more than 12 million users across 18 different dating sites including cupidswand.com, flirtcrowd.com and findmelove.com.

According to the FTC, the websites would offer a free plan, but users could only reply to messages (sent by fake accounts) if they signed up for a paid subscription. Membership plans ranged in cost from $10 to $30 per month.

Users were also not forced to view the websites’ “terms and conditions” which mentioned the subscription cancellation and renewal process.

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