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Online Dating

Online dating has helped many people find relationships, but unfortunately not all online dating websites and users are legitimate. Before you sign up for a dating site or begin communicating with someone you’ve met online, take a look at our tips to learn how to avoid scams.
Dating websites come in various costs and approaches. Some charge monthly fees while others allow you to register and browse their members’ profiles at no cost, but charge you to communicate with other members. Sites like J-Date and OurTime target specific populations, while others like Match and eHarmony are open to anyone.

Remember: dating services are businesses designed to make money, not matches. Experts discount claims that dating sites are scientifically proven to help you find the right partner. Some online dating sites are working to become safer by running criminal background checks on prospective members, but the usual precautions still apply.

To avoid online dating scams:

  • Take your time selecting. Select your online dating service carefully and ask for recommendations from trusted friends.
  • Do your research. Find out as much as you can about how your online dating site operates. Remember: your dating site should have a physical address, phone number, and email address.
  • Get a copy of your contract and know the terms. Read the fine print to avoid unexpected charges, and how to unsubscribe from the dating site. Under North Carolina law, you can cancel your contract within three days of signing it if you notify the company in writing.
  • Protect your profile. Make sure the dating site you choose promises not to sell your data to third parties or advertisers. Know what happens to your profile when you stop using the service.
  • Share your information carefully. Avoid sharing personal information like your address or account numbers with anyone online.
  • Keep your guard up. Avoid anyone who says they can only communicate with you online, asks to email outside of an online dating site, or claims that they are wealthy, foreign citizens. If you set up a date with someone you’ve connected with online, choose a safe, public place.
  • Never send money to someone you’ve never met in person, even if their story sounds convincing. Beware of anyone who asks you to make online purchases for them or to forward packages to an address outside the country.

We Can Help
If you or a loved one has experienced problems with an online dating site, file a complaint with our Consumer Protection Division by phone toll-free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or online at