ACCC Developing Code For Online Dating Sites

ACCC Developing Code For Online Dating Sites

Online dating sites often get laughed at by people in any sort of relationship, but they’re big business — and a big source of scams. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has received more than 1600 reports of relationship scams this year, with a claimed value of $17 million. To try and reduce that, it has developed a draft code of conduct for sites to follow.

Picture by Aidan Sally

As the ACCC explains, the sites themselves aren’t usually the source of the scam, but merely the mechanism through which dodgy types prey on the vulnerable:

These scams typically involve a genuine user of a dating website being contacted by a potential admirer who is a scammer in disguise. After forming a relationship with the victim, the scammer plays on emotional triggers to get the victim to provide money, gifts or personal details.

The regulations cover three key areas: systems the sites use to prevent dodgy profiles, warnings to consumers, and mechanisms for complaining. Ultimately, I’m not sure any of these measures will stop a lovesick fool being parted with the contents of their wallet. What do you think?



  • I used to work at a dating site/social whatnot company.

    The basic rule for dodgy profiles (for financial gain or scamming): You cant prevent them. They have entire teams generating singe-use email addresses and fake profiles , and to combat this you’ll might have a bored guy in a room who checks over new profiles occasionally.

    Where I worked, the scam-profile rate varied between 50% and 90% day to day. We had a moderation system set up for any new and modified profile, and a reporting system for users, but they still snuck in regularly.

    It’s got a higher success rate than spam – people are more open and less suspicious when they’re on a dating site – so the scammers can throw a lot of manpower at the problem. I’ll be interested to see what the ACCC mandates to help stop them.

    • I wish it was that easy. I found out through a friend that I was on a dating site with my id (my name, age etc) but my sister’s face. She went through verification with my id!. When I contacted that dating site (based in Australia), they don’t know what I was talking about.

      I waited till the opportunity presented itself and decided when my sister went out and I was at home, to go into her computer and luckily I was able to delete her/my account through a delete Profile feature, no help to the dating site.

  • They also need to stamp out these sites using ‘fake’ profiles to con unsuspecting users into shelling out money to contact people they think are interested in them. is full of these profiles!

  • It seems all of the online dating sites have become a rort in one way or another. It is about time these businesses become regulated if they wish to continue to trade in Australia.

  • This is why it’s needed-
    Sign up for free
    Create profile and search for free
    Receive messages in inbox but need to pay to see
    After paying you are able to read messages,
    All are from bogus profiles, messages are non specific generic and aimed to make you feel good. Photos accompany all messages.
    Hence the rort! The only reason money is given is to view messages which are only placed there to make you pay.
    Aussie dating sites.

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