The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday claimed in a new case that Match Group – which has many dating sites, including Tinder, OKCupid and Plenty of Fish – relied on "fraudulent accounts created by scammers" to attract new users to match .com to start paying for the service between 2013 and mid-2018.
Match.com is a free-to-use website, but subscription is required to communicate with other users. That's where the "romantic scams" – in which the site advertised fake profiles – came to make up a shocking 25 percent to 30 percent of members, according to the FTC.
Nearly 500,000 people signed up for Match .com between June 201
Instead of alerting prospective members that the message may be part of a "romantic scam", Match will jump at the opportunity to get new people to sign up for follow-up advertising, which sometimes comes with a coupon, the case said.
"He just sent you an email! You caught his eye and now he's interested in you … Could he be the one? ", The ad would be read according to the lawsuit.
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FTC complaint against Match states that "by mid-2018, defendant sends misleading ads to users who advertise messages from individuals, identifies the defendant as potentially fraudulent users of Match.com and makes users believe that the communications are from persons interested in establishing a dating relationship. "
The court case also alleges that Match" puts consumers at risk of fraud by giving last subscribers access to communications that the defendant knows are likely to have been sent by persons involved in fraud "and that mid-2019 Match "guarantees some users a free six-month subscription renewal if they fail to" meet someone special "but fail to adequately disclose their" guarantee "requirements.
"We believe Match.com has forced people to pay for subscriptions through messages that the company knows are fraudulent."
Match, is the dominant online dating service provider in the United States, as it controls approximately 25 percent of the online dating market, which is more than twice the market share of its closest competitor. The defendant owns, operates and controls approximately 45 online dating services.
According to the FTC's complaint, Match knew that these messages were "probably sent by fraudsters" as there was a process for flagging accounts believed to be fraudulent. It holds messages from these accounts to its members while forwarding them to non-member members.
Between June 2016 and May 2018, approximately 87.8% of the accounts whose messages were withheld by members were later confirmed by Match Fraud, the FTC said.
|MTCH||MATCH GROUP INC.||71.44  -1.39||-1.91%|
"We believe Match.com has forced people to pay for subscriptions through messages that the company knows are scammers," says Andrew Smith, director of FTC Consumer Protection Bureau.  Match Group said it blocked 96 percent of bots and fake accounts within a day. The statement said the FTC's allegations were "outrageous" and said it planned to "vigorously" defend itself in court.
"Fraud is not good for business. That's why we fight it. We capture and neutralize 85 percent of potentially incorrect accounts in the first four hours, usually before they are even active on the site."
Match also stated that the FTC case is filled with "completely ruthless allegations backed by deliberately misleading numbers."
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The FTC also claims that Match answers misleading users with a confusing and cumbersome cancellation process. Users were led to believe that
cancel subscriptions when they do not, and when consumers dispute fees associated with any of these practices and lose the dispute, Match denied users access to paid services.