Beware of Sweetheart Scams and Shady Dating Services

February 10, 2014

DENVER – When looking for a Valentine, or love during any time of the year, going online or using a traditional dating service is common but the Better Business Bureau warns such methods can leave you frustrated, swindled and even heartbroken.


More than 50 consumers filed complaints about dating services with the BBB of Denver/Boulder in 2013. Complaints concerned various problems including billing issues, lack of promised services, trouble cancelling memberships and other customer service issues. Companies such as Fun 4 Singles and continue to rack up complaints with the BBB of Denver/Boulder.


With the rise of social media and popularity of online dating websites, sweetheart scams have become more common. A sweetheart scam happens when someone uses social media and/or dating websites to con those looking for love into sending money or revealing personal information to be used for identity theft.


The BBB offers the following advice on love scams and online dating services: 

  • Beware of “sweetheart scams.” Don’t fall for anyone who tries to sweet-talk you into sending them money, especially via wire transfer or through a prepaid money card. Criminals are known to set up fake profiles, oftentimes posing as a military member, and start relationships online only to ultimately guilt their victim into sending them money. Read more about tell-tale signs here: BBB Blog.
  • Don’t give in to high-pressure sales tactics. Dating service sales associates may tell you that a low price is only good for that day and ask you to sign a contract immediately. You should take the contract home, read it carefully and make sure you understand what you are purchasing.
  • Know how to break up. Many online dating sites automatically renew memberships. Consumers should not assume they will stop being billed once the contract runs out. Usually you must call the company or send written instructions to avoid being billed again. Know in advance what you need to do to cancel.
  • Read and understand privacy and security policies. Make sure the company makes such policies available on their website or to you in writing. Understand how your information is collected and protected.
  • Check with the BBB. Find a BBB Accredited dating service at Always check the BBB Business Review of the company you’re interested in first at or by calling (303) 758.2100.

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About the BBB

The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Reviews, BBB Charity Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, there are 113 local, independent BBBs across the U. S. and Canada. Please visit for more information.