1250 Broadway, 27th Floor New York, NY 10001

Lawsuit Claims Match.com Uses Fake Profiles

January 6, 2011

A lawsuit filed in a Dallas federal Court Thursday, Dec. 30, alleges about 60 percent of profiles on Match.com are fake.

By Amber Fisher

Dallas-based Match.com says more than 20 million people use its online dating website to find love.

Dallas resident Claudia Hinkle is one of them.

"I joined because I have a very busy life," Hinkle said. "I'm a single parent, and I heard a lot of people having success with online dating."

Relationship Expert Catherine Burton said online dating is growing in popularity.

"It's great for people with busy lives or new to a city," Burton said. "People go through and look at the profiles and they kind of evaluate, 'Well, this is somebody I think I would like.'"

A class action lawsuit was filed in a Dallas federal court Thursday, Dec. 30, alleging more than half of the profiles on Match. com are fake.

New York-based Jeff Norton is one of the attorneys involved in the lawsuit.

Norton said about 60 percent of the profiles are fraudulent or no longer active members.

"We got that information from former employees of Match," Norton said. "If they can say they have millions of active members, well, that's an alluring thing for a single person to go to a site."

The lawsuit claims Match.com uses the fake profiles to lure people into joining the website and paying a monthly subscription of up to $34.99.

"They want their money back," Norton said. "They've been paying a subscription fees for all these years, believing they're getting access to a legitimate service, and they're not."

Match.com denied the allegations and released an official statement: "The claims have no merit and Match will defend the lawsuit vigorously. Similar claims were dismissed by a federal judge in Dallas last Fall.

Those previous claims were of female Match.com employees creating fake profiles in 2005.

"When that complaint was made, it didn't have the back-up that they needed, which I think we have now," Norton said.

The lawsuit already has some Match.com members begin to consider leaving the site.

"Nobody has time to get their feelings hurt or their hopes up on anything," Hinkle said. "And, if you're spending money and time and investing into talking to people and they turn out to be fake, then of course it's disappointing. I know I would be disappointed."

Dallas resident Michael Box said, "I think it's taking advantage of people's insecurity. It's like they're preying on people."

But, Burton said people take risks in relationships everyday.

"I think it's buyer beware," Burton said. "I think that all of us have to be smart today and look at the situation and say, 'you know, you can't be naive about anything today.'"