In today’s Scambook weekly update, Kevan reviews more online dating dangers. In our last video, he talked about con artists who take advantage of users by creating fake profiles on popular internet dating websites like Match.com, eHarmony, Christian Mingle, Senior People Meet, OK Cupid and more. Now, Kevan describes another online dating danger: websites with misleading or potentially even fraudulent membership services. Scambook members have reported over 470 complaints against one site, xDating.com, with over $29,000 in reported damages. Kevan explains that users are allowed to join for free and see their matches. Then, users begin to receive flirty messages from lots of men or women in their area, but in order to reply and start a conversation, these sites require you to pay for a full subscription. On xDating.com, Scambook members say that they stop receiving messages as soon as they start paying. On other websites, like SeniorPeopleMeet.com and ChristianMingle.com, our members say that the subscription fees were buried in the fine print, so they didn’t realize they were signing up for a premium paid membership. When they decide to cancel, they can’t reach customer service and the monthly fees keep adding up. Kevan reveals that some of our members after calling their banks to dispute the charges actually had to cancel their credit card entirely.
Everyone wants companionship. Whether you’re ready to settle down for the first time, meet someone new after a bad relationship or just looking for a romantic fling, online dating can be fun and convenient. These days, thousands of people find love online. Unfortunately, there are also thousands of people who fall victim to consumer traps and identity theft. At Scambook, we’ve identified two main types of online dating fraud. We discussed the first type of fraud in last week’s video, where Kevan highlighted how con artists create fake profiles, lure victims over time and then convince them to send money via Western Union or MoneyGram wire transfer.
The second type of online dating fraud reported by Scambook members refers to the dating websites themselves. We’ve received over 470 complaints against xDating.com, 85 complaints against SeniorPeopleMeet.com and 44 complaints against ChristianMingle.com. These three websites have accrued over $775,000 in total reported damages combined!
Although many of these complaints are directed at the con artists who use these websites as a platform to run their wire transfer schemes, a majority of Scambook members who complain against sites like xDating.com are crying foul play against the companies themselves. These online dating sites allow you to sign up for a free profile to see your matches, upload personal photos and receive flirty messages. When you want to reply to these messages, however, you have to pay for a premium membership. That’s when the trouble starts, according to our users.
On xDating.com, Scambook users report that they stop receiving all messages as soon as they buy the paid account, or the messages they do receive simply redirect them to adult-content subscription sites. Our members suspect that xDating.com actually matches you with automated accounts (also known as “bots”) rather than real people. The messages you receive on xDating.com are generated by computer code to entice you to buy the premium membership, according to our members’ complaints.
On other sites like Christian Mingle and Senior People Meet, you may be reaching other members who are real, but the costs of the membership are often buried in the fine print when you sign up. Scambook members report that their free trial or special offer quickly switches into a paid subscription and unexpected monthly charges on their credit card.
In most Scambook complaints against online dating sites, whether our users are upset about misleading fees or accusing the website of fraudulent bot accounts, no one has success reaching customer service for a refund. Many Scambook members report extreme difficulty simply canceling their accounts to prevent future recurring charges. Sometimes, our members must resort to disputing the charges with their bank or even canceling their credit card.
Based on our member’s complaints and evidence we’ve gathered in our own investigations, we recommend that you avoid sites that members have reported about. As for legitimate online dating websites like Senior People Meet and Christian Mingle, we suggest that you read the fine print very carefully before you sign up – especially if you’re offered a special deal or a free trial. Before you give them any personal information or private data such as your credit card number, make sure you understand what you’re signing up for, including the total price of the membership, when you’ll be charged and how long you’ll be charged before your membership expires. Find the contact information for customer service and figure out the steps you’ll need to follow in case you decide to cancel.
Any time you’re asked to give your personal or financial data online, you should also consult Scambook first. Browse our complaints and see what other users have experienced. You can also review our previous video coverage and blog entries.
If you’re looking for a real, legit dating site that’s actually free, try OK Cupid or join a local singles community on Meetup.com. Just remember to be careful when you chat with new people online and guard your privacy. A little bit of mystery adds to the romance, after all. Keep personal information like your address, phone number and financial status to yourself. Stay local, always meet your online match in a neutral public place and make sure someone knows where you’ll be going and when you expect to return.
If you’ve had a bad experience with an online dating website charging you unwanted monthly fees, or you’ve been ripped off by an imposter who created a fake profile, click here to report the incident to Scambook.
Watch our first video on online dating fraud: Looking for Love Online? Watch Out for Fake Profiles on Popular Dating Sites