Signs of a subscription rip-off on online dating platforms
The internet brings with it many advantages, but also many risks. Online dating in particular can be risky as it’s easier to scam people online. And it’s not because users of such websites can’t recognize a scam, but because the scammers play with emotions and erotic content. These days we report rip offs on dating websites more and more often. There are now more than a thousand portals that are more about getting your money than finding you love.
But there is a solution. In the following article we explain how you can prevent a scam and recognize a rip off just in time.
We test dating websites on a daily basis. Plus we’ve tested a large number of websites already to get to this point. The first and easiest step to see if a dating website is a scam, is to check out our homepage. Use our search function to find a specific dating site. We have nearly all operators in our database and new reports are added on a regular basis.
2. Double check with a search engine
We aren’t the only ones. There are heaps of portals on the World Wide Web where users and customers can share their experience of a service or a website. You can use Google, Bing or any other search engine to find details about a dating website and its operators. Portals that are described as black sheep, that have negative entries and experience reports are well-known, so you should find such information easily. There may also be reports by damaged customers. You can also find portals that can help in case of a rip-off via fake profiles or to help you escape a subscription trap.
3. Take a good look at the terms and conditions
There may be a hint about a potential rip-off in the terms and conditions, even before you read them. If the imprint, general terms of the website, or terms and conditions are shown as a graphic and not as text, one should become a little sceptical.
Of course, this is just a hint and not evidence. However, until now all the websites we have checked that have the terms and conditions as a graphic had something to hide. The graphic makes it impossible to check the content for any keywords with the search function. This means you have to read it all, which can be quite a challenge. The operators have a few more tricks to conceal something in the terms and conditions. Some websites show the terms and conditions in a small extra window or write it with a blue colour on a darker background, which can be difficult to read.
This can already be an indication as to what kind of operator and dating portal it is. Checking the imprint and the location of the operator may give you another hint. A head office in a foreign country such as Hong Kong or Malta, for example, is a sign of a scam website. Another hint may be not having an Australian contact person or telephone number so that you’re able to contact someone locally in case you need to. If you’re about to register on a website that shows these signs, tread more cautiously.
A dating rip-off can also often be identified by the way it charges its customers. A clear sign for a subscription trap is a trial period or trial subscription. The price for this may vary from 99c to $1.99. The trap here is that if you don’t cancel the membership in time they will automatically extend it and keep charging you. This may set you back up to $70 a month. The terms and conditions promise that customers are able to cancel the subscription every three months when it runs out but the cancellation will not be considered at all.
Here’s an example, the company Together Networks Holdings Limited which is the operator of many subscription dating websites such as BeNaughty.com.
If you choose the 14 day test membership there is a small print at the very end of the webpage:
If you do not cancel your 14 day trial membership, it will automatically convert to our monthly subscription at the full price.
For the subscription that runs for three months, apply the following rule which is mentioned in small print at the bottom of the page:
To avoid possible interruptions the subscription you have selected will be automatically renewed at the original and not discounted price for the same duration.
The question is about the price point. Non-reputable dating websites won’t show any detail about the price until you register on the page and are about to pay. No exact overview of the pricing will be displayed in the terms and conditions, or in the general information on the landing page.
5. Use a search engine again but this time for a picture check
If you’ve already registered with a dating portal and are unsure if the members are real or fake, simply copy the profile picture of your chat partner into the image search engine. You can use Google image search, Bing visual search or any other image search of an online search engine.
We also recommend that you check a few more profiles from the member’s area and copy them into an image search. If there are corresponding results related to pictures from the erotic industry, or to suspicious countries like Russia, you have a very strong indication of a rip-off. Members should have pictures that are related to search engine results that are from Australia and not another country.
Most of the pictures had been manipulated
Unfortunately, checking the credibility of a website this way, doesn’t always work 100 percent. Firstly, you should check more than one member, and check most of their images found on the profile. Some members may have lived in another country so the results may be related to another country. Why doesn’t the image check work perfectly? Because most of the pictures had been manipulated so the image search cannot clearly identify the image or the person.
These five points are the best known way to catch a rip-off dating website. If you’re on a website where one of these points applies, it’s not always a scam, but may be a dating site with a bad reputation. Which is also a good reason to try another dating site provider. If you find a dating site where all five points apply, the case is very clear. You have all the indications of a rip-off.
This is our check list for clear signs of rip-off dating sites. We will continue our work to continuously call out rip off methods of scammers and bring you tips and tricks on how to spot them and how to prevent the scam.