The Dutch consumer authority ACM has announced it will be giving out €9 million in compensation to 37,000 online dating users who were scammed by The Right Link.
A number of websites owned by the online dating company charged users up to €1 to send a message to a potential match. However, a lot of the profiles were actually run by The Right Link employees who were instructed to keep the users talking for as long as possible.
Reports suggest that in some extreme cases, victims lost thousands of euros.
Cateautje Hijmans van den Bergh, a spokesperson for ACM, told DutchNews.nl: “These websites used fake profiles to lure punters into long conversations. They never got a date and it is only right that users get their money back.”
Most of The Right Link’s subsidiaries are still active, but it has promised to let users know if they are talking to a member of staff rather than another user.
ACM will continue to closely monitor its activity and ensure its adheres to industry guidelines.
Some websites, including flirten.nl and bedmaatjes.nl, have been taken down and had the landing page replaced with a message letting visitors know they are entitled to compensation if they previously purchased message credits.
Research from an insurance company in April found that the majority of British online daters are not concerned about being a potential victim of romance fraud.
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