Approximately one in four adults in Great Britain have used a dating website at some point. But two in five of those we’ve surveyed have discovered fake profiles, and one in five have been asked for money by someone they’ve been contacting.
Although dating websites usually have measures to report abusive and fake profiles, contacting people online is taken at your own risk.
Different websites have different processes for reporting fake profiles. Not all of them vet profiles or moderate content.
See our guide on how to protect yourself on dating websites.
Protect yourself online
Dating websites will not be liable for any losses incurred while using the site. This is unless you can argue that the service you received was not provided using reasonable care or skill, or there were checks that the website said would carry out, but didn’t.
So if you use a dating website, it’s important that you do all you can to protect yourself online.
- If you think a profile is fake, check the website for details on reporting it. Usually there will be links or buttons on profiles to block or report individuals.
- Be careful about the information you share with anyone you meet online. This not only includes credit card details and where you bank, but also your pets’ names or your mother’s maiden name, as these could be used against you to access financial information.
- Do not wire money to anybody. As there is no audit trail, it is effectively the same as handing over cash.
If you have been scammed for money from someone you met online, make sure you inform the dating website. You should also contact Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and crime reporting centre, and consider contacting your local police station.
For more tips, see our guide on reporting a scam.
In May 2013, Which? surveyed 2,052 British adults online about their dating website experiences.