A New York plaintiffs’ lawyer has
filed a massive lawsuitaccusing Match.com of knowingly approving hundreds, and possibly thousands, of fake profiles using pirated photos.
The lead plaintiff in the proposed class action is a mother and part-time model named Yuliana Avalos, who claims that her photo has been used in more than 200 fake Match.com profiles.
“Not a day goes by when someone doesn’t tell me that they saw my pictures posted on Match.com or another website,” Avalos said, in a written statement provided by her lawyer, Evan Spencer.
The allegedly bogus profiles on Match.com — and its niche dating sites like PetPeopleMeet.com and SeniorBlackPeopleMeet.com — are often posted by fraudsters outside the U.S. with foreign ISP addresses, according to the lawsuit. From the lawsuit:
While defendants’ sites presumably provide a legitimate forum for American citizens in the 50 states to meet new people for dating, relationships, and marriage, the truth is that a large percentage of profiles on these sites are fraudulent profiles posted by con-artists or scammers from international locations for illegal purposes, using the photographs of Plaintiff and members of the class without permission or consent.
These illegal purposes allegedly include “romance scams” in which fraudsters try to get love-seeking people to send money out of the country. The illicit photos come from modelling agencies and Facebook and even include photos of military servicemen and women, the suit alleges.
That suit is seeking $US1.5 billion in damages for people whose photos have been used, as well as a court order requiring Match.com to use facial recognition software to stop fraudsters from using pirated photos.
This is not the first time Match.com has been accused of approving fake profiles.
Last year, a judge threw out a suit brought by Internet daters who claimed half of Match.com profiles were inactive or scams. Those daters claimed they’d been duped into thinking the pool of Match.com daters was bigger than it actually was, and that Match.com had violated its user agreement.
Texas federal judge Sam Lindsay, however, ruled that the Match.com user agreement “in no way requires Match.com to police, vet, update the website content” or make sure the profiles are for real, Reuters reported at the time.
The most recent suit is a little different, since it was brought by the people whose pictures were allegedly used and not Match.com subscribers. Rather than asserting breach of contract, this most recent suit asserts claims of copyright infringement, fraud, and negligence.
This newest suit says Match.com could easily eliminate all the fraud on its site if it gets software to stop international ISP addresses from posting domestic profiles in the U.S.
We reached out to Match.com for comment and will update this post if we hear back.
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