Online Dating Sites Agree to Screen for Predators

March 20, 2012 Updated Mar 20, 2012 at 6:27 PM EDT

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Online Dating Sites Agree to Screen for Predators

March 20, 2012 Updated Mar 20, 2012 at 6:27 PM EDT

(California Department of Justice news release) California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris on Tuesday announced that three of the nation's leading online dating providers have issued a joint statement of business principles that online dating providers should follow to help protect members from identity theft, financial scams and sexual predators.

According to the news release:

The agreement between the Attorney General and online dating providers eHarmony, Match.com and Spark Networks (operator of such websites as JDate and ChristianMingle), states that the companies will protect their members through the use of online safety tools, including checking subscribers against national sex offender registries and by providing a rapid abuse reporting system for members.

The websites will also continue to proactively educate members about safe online dating practices, and will supply members with online safety tips, including fraud prevention guidance and tips for safely meeting people offline. These tips and financial scam warnings will be issued on an ongoing basis to registered members.

"I commend these companies for committing to these important consumer protections," said Attorney General Harris. "Consumers should be able to use websites without the fear of being scammed or targeted. It is a priority for this office to ensure consumers are protected online, and companies who are creating in the Internet space have a continued opportunity to innovate and thrive."

Providers will continue their efforts to screen members for safety threats, whether financial or physical, using a number of protective tools, including looking for fake profiles and checking sex offender registries to prevent registered sex offenders from using their fee-based services. Any member who is identified as a registered sex offender will not be allowed to use these services.

The agreement between the Attorney General and online dating providers eHarmony, Match.com and Spark Networks (operator of such websites as JDate and ChristianMingle), states that the companies will protect their members through the use of online safety tools, including checking subscribers against national sex offender registries and by providing a rapid abuse reporting system for members.

The websites will also continue to proactively educate members about safe online dating practices, and will supply members with online safety tips, including fraud prevention guidance and tips for safely meeting people offline. These tips and financial scam warnings will be issued on an ongoing basis to registered members.

"I commend these companies for committing to these important consumer protections," said Attorney General Harris. "Consumers should be able to use websites without the fear of being scammed or targeted. It is a priority for this office to ensure consumers are protected online, and companies who are creating in the Internet space have a continued opportunity to innovate and thrive."

Providers will continue their efforts to screen members for safety threats, whether financial or physical, using a number of protective tools, including looking for fake profiles and checking sex offender registries to prevent registered sex offenders from using their fee-based services. Any member who is identified as a registered sex offender will not be allowed to use these services.

Read the entire news release HERE.