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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
Denver & Boulder, Colorado
Beware of Sweetheart Scams and Shady Dating Services
February 21, 2014

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 Cupid.com 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 findacompany.org. Always check the BBB Business Review of the company you’re interested in first at denver.bbb.org or by calling (303) 758.2100.