Feds Fine Online Dating Company For Scamming Money Via Fake Profiles

Via The Hill:

England-based company JDI Dating and its owner, Mark Thomas, were the target of the $616,165 fines. The settlement forbids the company from misrepresenting facts about the service or its cancellation policy in the future. “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 the FTC’s Jessica Rich, who directs consumer protection at the agency. The company, which operates 18 websites, was accused of using computer generated profiles to send messages to users who had created free profiles. The FTC found that messages sent to users who created these free profiles were “almost always fake.” Customers could not respond to other members unless they signed up for a subscription fee, usually $10 to $30 a month. The company boasts 12 million members on its website. “The fake profiles and messages caused many users to upgrade to paid subscriptions,” the FTC said in a release.

Among JDI Dating’s websites are Get Flirting, Flirt Crowd, and Naughty Over Forty. The FTC rejected the company’s claim that its posted disclaimer about “virtual cupids” (embiggen the image above) was adequate notice that some messages are fake. The company claims to have 12 million members across its 18 sites.