Dating agencies battle sexual and financial predators
LOS ANGELES — Three major US online dating agencies have pledged action to protect users from sexual predators and financial scammers, California’s attorney general said Tuesday.
Dating services eHarmony, Match.com and Spark Networks — which operates websites including JDate and ChristianMingle — said they notably look for fake profiles and check subscribers against sex offender registries.
The three have issued a joint statement of “business principles that online dating providers should follow to help protect members from identity theft, financial scams and sexual predators.”
“Consumers should be able to use websites without the fear of being scammed or targeted,” said the western US state’s attorney general Kamala D. Harris in a statement.
“It is a priority for this office to ensure consumers are protected online, and companies who are creating in the Internet space have a continued opportunity to innovate and thrive,” she added.
In 2011, 40 million Americans used an online dating service and spent more than $1 billion on online dating website memberships, according to the Californian official.
Of couples married in the last three years, one in six met through an online dating service and one in five have dated someone they met through an online dating site, she added.
The dating agencies stressed that they already have measures to protect their users in place, but trumpeted the joint pledge.
eHarmony CEO Jeremy Verba said: “eHarmony has the greatest concern for the safety and security of our members. These types of practices have been part of our commitment to member safety and education for many years.
“We are proud to join Attorney General Harris, Match.com and Spark Networks in setting an example for the rest of the online dating industry.”
Harris added: “In the interest of protecting and educating users, I strongly encourage all online dating companies to adopt the same principles as these industry leaders.”