Beware of Dating Serving Rip-Offs & Sweetheart Scams

February 14, 2012

Denver, CO – February 14, 2012 – Looking for love online or through a traditional dating service may seem like an easy way to spice up your social life or find a Valentine this year, but the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that such services can leave you frustrated, ripped-off and even heartbroken.

More than 65 consumers filed complaints about dating services with the BBB Serving Denver/Boulder in 2011, a slight increase compared to 2010. Complaints concerned many problems including billing issues, lack of promised services, trouble cancelling memberships, and other customer service issues.

“Trying to find love through a third-party service can be great for many but difficult and even dangerous for others. We urge consumers to research the reputation of dating services before handing over large fees and to beware of criminals who use online services to find victims,” warns Dale Mingilton, president and CEO of the BBB Serving Denver/Boulder.

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

  • Don’t give in to high-pressure sales tactics. 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 signing and paying for.
  • Know how to break up. Consumers should not assume that they will stop being billed once the contract runs out. Many online dating sites automatically renew memberships. 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.
  • Beware of “sweetheart scams.” Be very skeptical of any “match” who tries to sweet-talk you into sending them money, especially via wire transfer. Criminals have been 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 for various reasons. 
  • Read and understand privacy and security policies. Make sure the company makes such policies available on their Web site or to you in writing. Understand how your information is collected and protected.
  • Do your homework. Ask to speak to other members or customers of the service about their experiences.
  • Check the company’s BBB Business Review by visiting 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, free BBB Business Reviews and BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM on charities, 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, 125 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada. Please visit for more information.