The owner of Tinder and OkCupid is being sued by U.S. regulator for seeking to draw in potential subscribers with emails from fake users expressing interest in pairing up.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday alleged that Match Group Inc , which owns Tinder and other dating sites, knowingly sent automated advertisements with expressions of interest from accounts which it knew were likely fake.
The emails in question, which did not include user pictures, told recipients that a particular profile had expressed interest in them and gave them a link to click to see details, leading to a subscription page.
The FTC said some users had purchased subscriptions to see the details of the users.
"We believe that Match.com conned people into paying for subscriptions via messages the company knew were from scammers," said Andrew Smith, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Match Group and its parent company InterActiveCorp did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.
In its most recent quarterly report, Match said that in August 2019 the FTC referred claims against it to the U.S. Department of Justice and that it believed they were without merit.
Shares of Match Group fell as much as 6%, while those of InterActiveCorp dropped nearly 4%.
The FTC also said consumers who considered purchasing a Match.com subscription generally were unaware that as many as 25% to 30% of Match.com members who register each day are using it to perpetrate phishing schemes and extortion scams.
The agency alleged that the company also made it difficult for consumers to cancel their subscriptions.
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