INTERNET DATING STIES USING STOLEN PERSONAL DATA TO ENTICE SUBSCRIBERS – Using an Online Dating Service appears for many as the perfect way to find their one true love but a recent investigation reveals that many online dating sites are using stolen data in order to entice lonely people to sign up to their paid subscription service.
Meebal.com has published a number of articles recently regarding online dating services and perils of falling in love online.
Yesterday we published an article on one British national who lose nearly £1.3 million to a Thai girl and a few days ago we published an article on the rise of internet scams; many of which involve online dating sites.
From a layman’s point of view it might appear that creating and setting up a website is difficult. The truth is that with very little effort anyone could get a website up and running in a matter of hours. The difficult part is the amount of time and dedication it takes to run a website in order to make it successful.
However some dating websites have taken to cutting a few corners; regardless to the legalities. With the internet full of personal data from the plethora of social networks it doesn’t take a genius to compile personal data and use it to compile a database of people looking for love.
Incredibly, in one report, one dating website even had the tenacity to use Brad Pitt and Sir Michael Cane’s personal data as people looking for love.
Depending on who you ask in the industry it is estimated that some 80% of all dating websites are little more than scams; in that they are simply looking to generate cash from user registrations and subscriptions.
These websites often employ the use of stolen personal data and anyone considering using an online dating service should first look for sites that offer their services for free initially; this will give you the opportunity to browse the members prior to signing up for any subscription based additions to the service.
Why do some unscrupulous dating websites use stolen data? The truth is that if a potential customer went on the site and saw only a handful of people then the proposition is not an attractive one.
There are agencies available online that provide services in setting up an online dating website; they will even provide ‘personal data’ to initially propagate your site. It is unlikely that the profiles they supply are genuine but if you are in the business of scamming cash from subscribers then this is often a fast-track route.
In the UK the Information Commissioner’s Office now intends to probe the online dating industry due to the number of consumer complaints and a BBC documentary: Tainted Love – Secrets of Online Dating; which clearly show that the Data Protection Act is being breached by these companies.
One of the companies highlighted in the documentary was Usdate who offered undercover investigators private data of 10,000 people; the data included photographs, email address and sexual orientation.
Buying such a list and using it for the purposes of online dating is illegal and many of the data profiles are often faked; but that is of no concern to the scammers looking to make money from unsuspecting subscribers.
“It has never been easier to buy dating profiles. Having more people on your dating site gives your users more choice so they buy more and longer memberships. Simple!! So stop waiting for new users to “trickle in” every day. Instead, become clever and populate your dating website with 1,000,000 new dating profiles and your business will soar.” Usdate website marketing message to potential buyers of personal data
The online dating sector currently generates approximately £2.5 billion a year globally and whilst estimates reveal approximately 1,500 dating websites currently in operation this figure continues to grow daily.
In the UK alone there are nearly 6 million people who use an online dating service and with subscription fees running from a few pounds to a hundred pounds or more this is certainly a lucrative way to make money from other people’s desperation to find their one true love.
The wave of consumer complaints is growing as more and more people discover they have been duped into buying a subscription with the prospect of contacting another member only to find out that the member doesn’t exist or is simply a fake profile.
Proprietors of long established online dating websites who operate within an ethical code of conduct are also increasingly concerned over the lack of control within the industry. The problem is that anyone can get a highly professional looking website up and running, complete with data, in a matter of hours and this is giving the online dating industry an undesirable reputation.
If you do decided to sign up for an online dating service do some research first. Carefully examine their terms and conditions. Look at their ‘about us’ page and do not subscribe to any online dating service until you have trialed their free service. If you are asked to pay a subscription fee in order to contact another member then think twice.
Finally try running the website name in the search engines to see what sort of user reviews they get. Just remember that these reviews may also be faked so treat each one with an open mind and caution.
Do you think the Online Dating Industry should be regulated due to personal data being used? Please leave your comments below. If you have a story please contact the editor.