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Fraud in Internet Dating Prompting Regulation 371

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the you-mean-i-shouldn't-believe-everything-i-read dept.
anaesthetica writes "According to the Washington Post, an increasing tide of fraud in internet dating is prompting lawyers and lawmakers to examine possible regulations and consumer protections. Wire fraud scamming, plane ticket ripoffs, fraud perpetrated to fund trysts, fake "date bait" messages -- these are just a few of the issues the courts are beginning to deal with. Dating websites were immunized from lawsuits over false statements by the recent Communications Decency Act. Other attempts to regulate internet dating, such as the 2005 'mail-order bride' legislation, are already being challenged in court, but an increasing number of states are sponsoring their own legislation."
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Fraud in Internet Dating Prompting Regulation

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  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @12:54AM (#15485379) Journal
    What's being described here is already covered by existing fraud statutes, isn't it? What's with the call for more regulation?

    -jcr
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RexRhino (769423) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:05AM (#15485404)
      Lawmakers make laws. That is what they do! Politicians need to be seen as "doing something about the problem"... even if they know that more laws won't help, they want to be seen as "taking a stand" and "standing up for the people" on an issue. If a politician doesn't call for more regulation, then he will be accused of "doing nothing to help the victims".
      • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Funny)

        by MyLongNickName (822545) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @07:05AM (#15486270) Journal
        Lawmakers make laws. That is what they do! Politicians need to be seen as "doing something about the problem"... even if they know that more laws won't help

        We should pass a law against this kind of behavior...
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by general_re (8883) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:06AM (#15485410) Homepage
      This is how legislators keep busy and stay out of trouble. Someone gets burned by an online dating experience, and raises a stink about it in public, and politicians hear that - usually correctly - as a call for someone to Get Out There and Do Something About This. Because we, as a society, have a sort of tacit understanding with our representatives, a shared delusion if you will, whereby they pretend that if only they can pass enough laws, they can build a world where nobody ever gets hurt or offended or upset or inconvenienced or whatever. And we pretend to believe that they can, in fact, actually accomplish such a thing, and reward them by re-electing them, or occasionally promoting them, for their bold attempt at creating what P.J. O'Rourke once called the "Nerf world". I say "pretend", but that's not really true, of course - the reality is that most politicians and the citizens they represent really do believe that an ouchless world is possible. Or if they don't believe it, they sure as fuck act like they do.
      • This is how legislators keep busy and stay out of trouble. Someone gets burned by an online dating experience, and raises a stink about it in public, and politicians hear that - usually correctly - as a call for someone to Get Out There and Do Something About This.

        So let's vote in some libertarians to strike all the useless laws and 99% of the tax code, and put some lawyers out of business while we're at it.

        We can call it "ex-lex".
      • This is how legislators keep busy and stay out of trouble. Someone gets burned by an online dating experience, and raises a stink about it in public, and politicians hear that - usually correctly - as a call for someone to Get Out There and Do Something About This.

        How many were "burnt" (=shot) by easy to get fire arms?
        How many were "burnt" by the RIAA / MPAA?
        How many were "burnt" by DRM?
        How many were "burnt" by software companies that are not liable for the damages their software caused?

        I mentioned weapons

      • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Funny)

        by corbettw (214229)
        This is how legislators keep busy and stay out of trouble.

        You misspelled make.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ericdano (113424) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @02:17AM (#15485567) Homepage
      It is easier to take on "problems" like this, in an election year, rather than issues like balancing the budget, fixing levees, or fixing the immigration problems we have.
      • by ianscot (591483) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @08:18AM (#15486610)

        rather than issues like balancing the budget, fixing levees, or fixing the immigration problems we have.

        Immigration sticks out as the crossover from your list. Pretty clearly the Repubs were trying to pony up immigration reform as this year's Gay Marriage Amendment: the social wedge issue that would continue to let them play Nixon's "southern strategy" this time around. The "illegal immigration should be a felony" thing was all about that. The grenade went off in their hands a bit, and now they're back to the gay marriage thing as a fallback position.

        My Southern Baptist relatives down in Oklahoma would vote for any politician who passed legislation about some sort of "fraud" involving white girls being misled by black men. Seriously. All you have to do is throw them a bone like that, and they're motivated. Politicians know it, just take a look at their Senator Coburn. It's spooky.

        • The reason the immigration grenade went off in the collective hands of the Republican party, is because the half of them that thought toughening up the laws would make a good campaign issue, evidently didn't consult the other half, who were all funding their campaigns with dollars donated by the agribusiness or construction lobbies. Oops.

          Grenades work better when you can agree which direction you're going to throw it in before you pull the pin.

          On the bright side, it made it abundantly clear who was actually listening to their constituency and who was listening to their donors, though. It's good to get an issue every once in a while that clarifies things like that.
    • Call me old fashioned, but to me "internet dating" sounds like an oxymoron anyway...

      So who is the legislation supposed to protect? People from themselves? ...Because they don't realize that "find your perfect soulmate for $39.99 a month" or "find a hot chick to bang tonight" are too good to be true. Let people live in their fantasy world where everyone has a soulmate and there are plenty of hot local babes" willing to please, just a few mouse click away and $5.99 registration fee.

    • The difference is (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Travoltus (110240)
      now women are starting to get bit.

      That's the fastest way to get Congress to act on something: show that it affects women as well as men.
    • Shit- will it just be illegal to lie on dating sites, or will this apply to the real world as well? Am I going to get arrested for saying I am an MD when I'm out at the bar? I hope not, because that line works sooooooo well.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @12:57AM (#15485385)
    existing anti-sexual assault, anti-fraud, anti- laws more than cover this.

    this is yet another potential grand stand style red herring politicians can use to distract you from real issues.

    I hope I saved you a lot of time you would have spent inquiring further into this.
  • Think about it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dracho (774428) <dracho@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:02AM (#15485396)
    The little heading under the title should sum it up, plain and simple: it's from the "you-mean-i-shouldn't-believe-everything-i-read dept." Do a little homework, and think things through. Common sense... the world is losing it all too fast in my opinion. Being uneducated is one thing, and not a bad thing, but is this what we're coming to? People make their own decisions without doing any homework and stubbornly stick to that no matter what? :\ Whatever, me just blowing off steam I guess...
    • Next thing they'll be expecting truth in advertising too.... C'mon folks lying to get a date + sex is as old as the hills.

      Nobody ever got prosecuted for wire fraud for embellishing to potential dates over the phone or by any othger means. Using the internet does not really change anything.

    • Re:Think about it (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drgonzo59 (747139)
      It is called "people wanting to be victims and wanting to be babied by the politicians."

      A bunch of idiots got fooled by another bunch of (slightly smarter) idiots with a website, that they can find their "soul mates" and consequently a "happy married life" for a $5.99 membership fee. In the end they found out that the "hot local babes" are just pictures from pr0n sites and it was actually the employees of the website who replied back to them. This made them realize that their own little world where they a

      • consequently a "happy married life" for a $5.99 membership fee.


        What dating site are you going to that they only charge $5.99? With the exception of the completely free ones (Plenty of Fish, OKCupid, etc) they all charge a minimum of $20/month. Granted, you don't have to pay the fee but if you want to talk with someone or, in the case of Match, even find out who's looked at your profile or sent you an email, you have to pay.

    • Re:Think about it (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Imsdal (930595)
      Common sense... the world is losing it all too fast in my opinion.

      So, pray tell, when was exactly that glorious time when common sense did prevail? Did it coincide with the crusades, the Spanish Inquisition or the Salem witch burnings? Or perhaps with slavery?

      As mad as the world is right now, the strange fact is that it has never been more sane.

      • As mad as the world is right now, the strange fact is that it has never been more sane.

        Worrying, isn't it.
        • As mad as the world is right now, the strange fact is that it has never been more sane.


          Worrying, isn't it.


          Actually, no, it's pretty comforting. Despite the fact that people were even more nutty previously than they are today, we have come this far. That should really instill some hope for the future.


          And no, I'm not sarcastic. I really do think this is the case.

  • Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by whereiseljefe (753425) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:03AM (#15485398) Homepage
    Reminds me of the proposition 2 crap that happened down here in Texas. While us citizens were busy screaming about adding proposition 2 to the Texas constitution (it would ban gay marraige), despite the fact that gay marriage was already illegal under state law, our loving congress and our wonderful governor Rick Perry slipped by some amendments that allowed them to spend the principle of the education budget (normally legislature can only spend the interest on things other than education) to give Wal-Mart a multi-million dollar loan to build a distribution center in south texas.

    And to think there is still no budget for the public school system down here (we've been bickering about it since our supreme court struck down the curring Robin Hood system about... 1, 2 years ago?)
    • What in the world would Wal-Mart need a loan for? They're not exactly strapped for cash.

      Got an article?
      • What in the world would Wal-Mart need a loan for? They're not exactly strapped for cash.

        But why would you need to use cash if you can get a low interest subsidized loan?
  • [insert Steve Guttenberg / Rosanna Arquette Amazon Women on the Moon reference here].

  • What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by eclectro (227083) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:11AM (#15485420)

    Who would want to date when you can play Dungeons and Dragons?

    Anyway, doesn't everyone here know that all the cute pictures online are fake and you are talking to somebody who weighs 300 pounds and whose real name is "Bubba"?
    • Re:What? (Score:2, Funny)

      by Vladimus (583117)
      Seriously, guys (and gals?), be careful out there. My 250-pound ex wants me to do a little Photoshop work on her pic.
    • Re:What? (Score:2, Funny)

      by innocence18 (897646)
      Don't knock it till you've tried it alright, Bubba and I are very happy together!
    • I do believe Guild Wars, WoW and EQ are the drugs of choice these days.
    • Anyway, doesn't everyone here know that all the cute pictures online are fake and you are talking to somebody who weighs 300 pounds and whose real name is "Bubba"?

      Reminds me of the classic quote: "Ah, the internet, where men are men, women are men, and children are FBI agents."
  • by SpecialAgentXXX (623692) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:21AM (#15485440)
    Man Seeking Woman

    His Qualities
    • Age: 30
    • Hair: Balding
    • Eyes: Bloodshot from staring at PC too long playing MMORPGs; glasses
    • Body Type: football... that is the shape, not the athlete
    • Education: Trade School - DeVry's Technical
    • Income: $25,000 - $30,000
    • Housing: Lives with parents
    • Social Style: Introverted, shy, nervous around women
    • Sexual Behavior: N/A, virgin

    Your Qualities
    • Age: Barely Legal
    • Hair: Blonde
    • Eyes: Blue
    • Skin: Tanned
    • Body Type: Athletic
    • Housing: has her own place
    • Sexual Behavior: anything past 1st base would be nice
  • More useless hype to distract you from the real world.
  • funny (Score:3, Funny)

    by sxtxixtxcxh (757736) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:26AM (#15485451) Homepage Journal
    after reading the title, and skimming the summary, i read "14 comments yro.slashdot.org" as "14 yr old.slashdot.org"
  • by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:28AM (#15485457) Homepage
    Back in February, I consulted with a law firm on a dating site fraud case.

    The client sued a dating site because he saw a profile (faked), joined, chatted for 2 hours,
    then "she" gave him a get lost jerk phone number.

    In discovery, the email address given by this "woman" was phony.

    While the dating site is protected under the CDA (see http://www.techlawjournal.com/topstories/2003/2003 0813.asp [techlawjournal.com]) and the case was dropped. I can see
    a case against a site for failing to do a basic check of the email address and removal of a phony profile. That by not checking, the dating site gets an unfair benefit from the deceptive information posted -- a person being tricked into paying a fee to contact the person in the fake profile.

    • I suppose he's also sued women for standing him up on a date? Or perhaps that girl in a club who gave him a fake phone number. Better yet, that "girl" he met who he later found out had a rather large bulge up front. People get scammed in the game of dating all the time; that's just part of it.
      • I don't think you understand.

        The person in question paid money to the service, having been lured in by a profile which turned out to be fake. It's not about the fake phone number or getting scammed by the other person. The issue is that the dating service profited from a fake profile. That goes against the very idea of the service they supposedly provide.

        There was another service (don't remember which one) which made headlines when it started hiring people to flirt with and talk up members of the opposit
        • by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @12:46PM (#15488752) Journal
          There are basically two fundamentally different things that could have happened there:

          1. That the site itself created false profiles to seem populated. That's fraud.

          2. That some member put in a false address on their own profile just because they _don't_ want to be stalked, spammed, or have their identity stolen for character assassination purposes as retaliation by some cretin who can't deal with rejection. This is just having a brain. The sheer number of idiots out there is truly frightening, and these sites _also_ act like the wrong kind of a filter by mainly attracting those who are too socially-retarded to find a date any other way. So anyone who put any true personal info on a site that'll give it unquestioningly to every horny Tom, Dick and Harry, I'd consider them genuinely and truly retarded.

          So is it some guy that was scammed by the site owners, _or_ some socially-retarded guy who's angered that he can't stalk the girl who dared refuse him? They're very very different cases. So as long as we aren't told which of them it is, I won't hurry to join in the angry mob with torches and pitchforks.

          In fact, the way the original post was phrased, it sounded like getting a false email was _the_ grand fraud. Not even "proof" of fraud, but as being the grand despicable act of deception itself. That the site should have made sure the guy only gets genuine email addresses for his money.

          In which case, I'm left scratching my head: exactly what the fuck was he actually expecting to get on that site? Did he think he was buying a list of verified email addresses, like on some spammers' sites? Or what? The site only promised to put him in contact with another person, nothing more. As long as they did that (or at least he can't prove that they didn't), it seems to me like they're perfectly in the clear. They didn't promise to sell him someone's verified personal data.

          On the whole, it looks more and more like an idiot who can't deal with rejection than anything else. Read the whole thing again. Starting with the whole flipping out and trying to sue the site after the very first rejection. There is no mention of trying to gather more proof or anything. (E.g., you know, trying to chat to more than one person just to see if all conversations follow the same bait-and-dump script or what. Or trying to see if more people run into the same kind of a problem. Surely he's not the only one who talked to a staff member in disguise, if that's the case.) And continuing with the not-so-veiled quotes all over the place ("she", "woman", etc) implying that it must have been a guy, although, again, there was no finding or even an actual case.

          Seriously, the more I look at it, the more it looks like a very good possibility that it's just a clown who'd do anything rather than admit that someone rejected him. He's scream fraud, he'll scream that it must have been a man in disguise, anyting. Because god forbid admitting that maybe, just maybe, a woman could have actually rejected him.

          Of course, I can't know that either, but it's a distinct possibility.
  • by MonkeyBoyo (630427) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:33AM (#15485470)
    That way I can be sure that I am corresponding with a virgin who just turned 18.
  • by SonicSpike (242293) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:34AM (#15485473) Homepage Journal
    Here is a noble idea:

    Let the free market figure it out!

    For example, if Yahoo dating service is able to block 98% of scammers, while Match.com is only able to block 75%, then who should win?

    The answer lies within filtering technology, and innovating approaches to improving the quality of service. The market will sort things out on its own; that will force innovation (progress) and foster competition.

    Regulation and legislation usually stifles competition and innovation. If people can't get good service at one place, they will go to somewhere else that meets their needs. That is called the free market!
    • For example, if Yahoo dating service is able to block 98% of scammers, while Match.com is only able to block 75%, then who should win?

      If more than 50% of viruses are on Windows, and less than that are on anything else, who should win? The free market is broken, at least with goods/services where more than one marketable factor is involved... (which is most)
      • It is the free market, and it does work. Like gravity, it is a natural law and always functions with specific parameters.

        In your Windoze analogy it should be obvious that viruii are not enough of a problem for people to start switching to Linux or Mac OS based solely on the amount of viruii they contract. As soon as viruii become a huge problem, then people might either fix it (AV companies anyone), or decide to move to a less vulnerable OS. It is really a cost-benefit analysis.
        • by revscat (35618)

          It is the free market, and it does work. Like gravity, it is a natural law and always functions with specific parameters.

          That's the stupidest goddamn thing I've read all day. The free market is an illusion. Something invented by people. There is no Santa Claus, there is no spoon, and there is no fucking free market.

          Fundie Christians have Jesus and libertarians have the free market. Yay for humanity.

        • The free market is not a natural law. Unlike a natural law, the market will change depending on how we (people, economic agents) describe it. So by calling it a "natural law" _we_ let it function (and we act) as if it is a "natural law". One could probably say that it is like the effect of "observing" in the quantum world (the process of observing a system will change its state).
        • In your Windoze analogy it should be obvious that viruii are not enough of a problem for people to start switching to Linux or Mac OS based solely on the amount of viruii they contract.

          This is what I meant by "when more than one marketable factor is involved". No one's paying attention to the greater virus vunerability, because there are plenty of other things to worry about. I picked Windows for my analogy because many of the reasons people won't switch (established user base, exclusive content) could
    • For example, if Yahoo dating service is able to block 98% of scammers, while Match.com is only able to block 75%, then who should win?

      Okay, now what if they're both only able to block 1% (+/- 1% false positives)?

      I guess we'll just let the free market's panacea of just-short-of-fraudulent marketing fix everything.
    • To let the market sort it out may require labelling laws.

      A "perfect market" - the kind of market that goes in there and sorts things out, optimally - requires that all actors are perfectly rational and have perfect information, and that there are no transaction costs. I don't know about you, but I'm definately not rational. Oh, and while I'm a quick shopper, I'm not instant. Fortunately, I'm clairvoiant, so that part is taken care of - the labels may be a bad idea after all. They just help all you nor

    • Regulation and legislation usually stifles competition and innovation.

      No, it USUALLY doesn't.

      If people can't get good service at one place, they will go to somewhere else that meets their needs.

      The real question here, which you are conveniently ignoring like oh-so-many Republican politicians, is HOW LONG will this "one place" be able to scam their customers, fooling them into believing they ARE getting "good service" before they figure out it's all a big scam/hoax?

    • by RsG (809189)
      Free market economics don't work where the service providers are depending on human stupidity and/or desperation to operate. For a free market to correct itself, consumers need to be educated about the product or service they're buying, and they need to be discerning when two or more choices are presented. Neither is exactly true when dealing with online dating schemes.

      Additionally, it's too damn easy to spread false information via astroturfing when people are depending on word of mouth to determine whic
    • Meanwhile, Yahoo and "child safe" AOL both have scamming bots rampant in all their chat rooms and have done nothing about it. It is to the point that 95% of names in rooms are bot scripts scamming for people to join an adult or poker website to look at pics or gamble so the script kiddy can get a small commission 10,000 times over daily. Sites like http://www.bot-depot.com/ [bot-depot.com] only make it more popular. One n00b conversation scenario: Hello. >Hi. How are you doing? >Great! How about you? I like your pr
    • Meanwhile, Yahoo and "child safe" AOL both have scamming bots rampant in all their chat rooms and have done nothing about it. It is to the point that 95% of names in rooms are bot scripts scamming for people to join an adult or poker website to look at pics or gamble so the script kiddy can get a small commission 10,000 times over daily. Sites like http://www.bot-depot.com/ [bot-depot.com] only make it more popular.

      One n00b conversation scenario:

      Hello.
      >Hi.
      How are you doing?
      >Great! How about you? I like your profile p
    • Here is a noble idea:

      Let the free market figure it out!

      For example, if Yahoo dating service is able to block 98% of scammers, while Match.com is only able to block 75%, then who should win?


      Whoever's got the most pretty shinny flashing pictures on their front page.

      Free market my backside. You're assuming the free market, in this case made up of socially inept losers and naive twits, is going to rationally and wisely choose the best service offered. That is just one of the many problems with letting a free ma
    • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:09AM (#15485968)
      Regulation and legislation usually stifles competition and innovation. If people can't get good service at one place, they will go to somewhere else that meets their needs. That is called the free market!

      This really is a noble idea, but like many such ideas, it is far too simple to work all by itself. There is nothing inherently wrong with regulation; it's just mindful engineering. Many systems, if you don't apply intelligence and sculpting to their growth progress, will just end up being wild free-for-alls which do not necessarily favor humans. This is why farmers try to discourage weed growth among their crops. Our intelligence is a tool designed to give us an edge in the wild; ignoring it needlessly strips us of that advantage. Sorry, but I don't have claws and fur, so why on earth would I want to handicap myself?

      --I remember while visiting Orlando, and Buffalo and a few other U.S. cities, and being amazed at the apparent lack of zoning laws. The cities were a total mess. Industry and housing and retail sectors were all mixed together. I saw nasty chemical plants next to schools, next to gun shops, next to more housing, next to burned out housing. . . It was insane and stressful and totally unnecessary. --Yes, it made the ideologues happy because some high-minded theory about evolution or something was being adhered to, but the result were stupid cities which were uncomfortable and stressful to live in.

      Humans have the ability to measure the effectiveness of systems and employ tactics to increase efficiency. --Yes, free market economies are a good base-line for allowing natural efficiencies to take hold, but so are implementing required standards, -for example, the the legally imposed engineering standards placed on boiler manufacture during the steam age when faulty or stupidly made engines exploded on a regular basis. --The free market may have in time have come around to building safe boilers all on its own, but things got a lot safer for the populace almost immediately when the public decided to make it illegal for companies to build lethal steam-bombs masquerading as engines.

      Free market economics is one tool, and while it sometimes works, as with all tools, it also sometimes fails miserably. Why get upset when other tools are suggested? You can't solve every problem with a hammer. Sometimes a drill, or a screwdriver, or a piece of sandpaper are better fits for a problem. More often than not, all the tools used in concert in an intelligent manner turn out the best results.

      I for one am glad that bridge designs need to meet certain critical standards before cars are allowed to cross and that we don't have to wait around for the stupid companies to be weeded out through economic failure due to their bridges collapsing some percentage of the time.

      Of course, it is true that regulation through government bodies can and does also cause big problems, but those problems stem from stupidity and greed rather than an inherent flaw in the style of solution. Regulation can stifle creativity, but the Free Market model allows for unnecessary dangers to the population. Human Intelligence is the stuff we use to balance out the difference.


      -FL

    • "For example, if Yahoo dating service is able to block 98% of scammers, while Match.com is only able to block 75%, then who should win?"

      The one who doesn't get caught.

      The Beloved Free Market isn't about giving people the better product, it's about giving people what they think is the better product. And, in case you haven't noticed, people are fucking morons. And if you have the resources to make people think, contrary to the facts, that your product is better/safer/etc, you'll make your sale.
      • The Beloved Free Market isn't about giving people the better product, it's about giving people what they think is the better product. And, in case you haven't noticed, people are fucking morons. And if you have the resources to make people think, contrary to the facts, that your product is better/safer/etc, you'll make your sale.

        The theoretical ideal of the "Free Market" is dependent on the theoretical ideal of "Perfect information [wikipedia.org]." Having the correct information ("the facts") about the products will

    • yeah, and how many people get screwed/scammed in the process?
    • That's a nice fantasy.

      In the real world, a truly free market rewards scams and sheisters. Set up shop, build up a customer base, then suddenly screw everyone and disappear to start another company. It's far more profitable than actually servicing your customers.

      Oh you don't want people to do that? How is that then a "free" market without any regulation?

      People keep saying they want a free market with zero regulation, except what they mean is they want a free market with no regulation except for those regu
  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:35AM (#15485475) Homepage Journal
    Wise, benevolent legislator seeks voter to guard and protect. Will keep you safe from all harm. My turnons are exotic travel, tax hikes and campaign contributions. LTR preferred.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:37AM (#15485480)
    Welcome to the Internet, where men are men, women are men, and 16 year old girls are FBI agents.

    (Paraphrased)
  • by asiansweetheart (977645) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @02:48AM (#15485636) Homepage
    Let me offer my view on this, the view of the owner of an international matchmaking site http://www.asiansweetheart.net/ [asiansweetheart.net]. I introduce Thai ladies to western men through my website. I have a small membership mostly because it is so much work to recruit good ladies. On the other hand, scammers are very active. In fact, one of the biggest scams in Thailand is the army of bar girls (that's what prostitutes are called here) that spend the afternoons sending love spam to all their previous customers after they return to the west after their vacations in the Land of Smiles. Those love spammers are often very organized, keeping careful notes on which guy they asked for how much money for whatever emergency (mother sick, motorcycle broken, buffalo died, etc., etc.). They also have plenty of profiles posted on the free dating sites. So although the profiles are not really fake, their sole purpose is scamming. And they are quite successful, receiving loads of cash each month from soft-hearted suckers in the west.

    The problem here in Thailand is not that most Thai girls are bad. It is that most are so nice, and shy, and not very open about showing their photo on the internet, or too shy to actually make contact with a foreigner even if they really want to. The scammers are a small but aggressive and active fraction of the population. So the scammers end up being a large fraction of the Thai ladies meet-able online.

    The typical westerner vacationing in Thailand cannot easily tell the difference from a nice local girl and a scammer. But I can spot them instantly as can every other Thai person.

    But even without local knowledge the average foreigner can just use their head a little. When that sweet little thing you met online starts asking for money, or plane tickets, or other big ticket items then it is pretty obvious you are being scammed, isn't it? What's the point of yet more legislation?

    • When that sweet little thing you met online starts asking for money, or plane tickets, or other big ticket items then it is pretty obvious you are being scammed, isn't it?

      You're kidding, right?

      Hell, people still fall for the 419 scams!

      -jcr
    • by Imsdal (930595) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:54AM (#15486070)
      In fact, one of the biggest scams in Thailand is the army of bar girls (that's what prostitutes are called here) that spend the afternoons sending love spam to all their previous customers after they return to the west after their vacations in the Land of Smiles.

      How is a girl who asks for money becuase she wants money a "scam"? If that is what we all shuold be protected from, we are truly doomed...

  • Photos (Score:3, Funny)

    by IainMH (176964) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @03:50AM (#15485766)
    I want to see regulation against using photos that were clearly taken BEFORE YOU STARTED EATING LARD BETWEEN MEALS!
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @04:00AM (#15485789)
    As mentioned in the summary - the first attempt at legislation along these lines is being challenged in court because it was, well, absolutely idiotic and probably completely unconstitutional.

    The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 has the following requirements
    on websites that bring American men and foreign women together:

    1. Gather mandatory background information and documents on the American client's past criminal history.
    2. Provide the man's background information to any woman who has correspondence with an American through their site.
    3. Check the National Sex Offender public registry and state public registry for each U.S client.
    4. Secure a signed, written consent from the lady before releasing her contact information to the American client interested in her.
    5. Provide her a brochure (created by our government) to explain her U.S. rights to her.


    Some of those requirements are reasonable - but (1) and (2) are absolutely nuts. Simply chatting with, or even sending a simple note to, a woman means that a guy has to give out way more information than he would ever give out to a woman he just met in a bar or other similar 'dating' situation.

    The background information includes things like details of part marriages, names and ages of any children, his current address and full name, etc. The kind of information that fraudsters and identity thieves would just love to get their hands on.

    Furthermore, there is no recriprocation - the woman are under no obligation to provide any verifiable information at all to the men.

    The law goes so far as to try to impose itself on all 'international' dating websites, even if the ownership is 100% non-American and are hosted outside of the US. The enforcement mechanism is to deny marriage visas to any woman who admits to meeting her American husband or husband-to-be through a website that has not officially adopted the rules and been certified by some sort of quasi-governmental certification authority.

    Unfortunately, it really doesn't help all the honest Joes out there that most of the websites that discuss the IMBRA are laden with misogyny, using terms like "feminazi" that are really self-labels for the writers as probably not being fit to marry a woman - American or otherwise.
    • Regarding item 2, it must also be translated to the woman's native language and then provided to her. The burden of doing all this is ridiculous. So I stopped serving U.S. residents. I only serve European and Australian clients now. Which is fine since Thai ladies and Eurpoean men really like each other. Norwegians and Thais are really having a love affair these days. After the king of Norway came to thank Thai people for helping Norwegian tourists following the tsunami the number of Thai ladies marrying N
    • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @07:56AM (#15486503)
      As mentioned in the summary - the first attempt at legislation along these lines is being challenged in court because it was, well, absolutely idiotic and probably completely unconstitutional.

      Here's a little background on why this happened. There was a rather infamous so-called "mail order bride" murder in Washington state in late 2000. An American man living there went to Krygystan to meet an ethnic Russian girl, probably in 1999 I think. He was in his late 30's, fat, balding and extremely unattractive. The girl he met was in her very early 20s and looked like a budding supermodel. In short, there was no way at all she would be interested in him. He had previously married a Russian woman who divorced him and took him to the cleaners. So being an idiot, he decided that he would get a woman much younger and hotter than he deserved and she would be so desperate to leave her country (by the way, Russians are a minority in Krygystan, which is an important fact in the story) that she would marry him. Plus, in his delusional state, he honestly believed that his sparkling personalty would triump and this woman would fall in love with him and they would live together happily ever after.

      He went to Krygystan because he knew that since Russians are a minitory there, a girl from there might be pretty willing to leave and overlook his ugliness and this guy was REALLY ugly. What he didn't count on was that she and her parents hatched a plan that she would list herself on the internet with marriage agencies and she would marry the first guy to come along. It was a long shot because only about 5% of the women on these sites ever find a husband this way and the odds of someone in Krygystan are even lower. However, sure enough, the guy wrote to her and came to visit. The plan was that she would come over to America on a K-1 (fiancee) visa, they would get married and if the marriage worked out, great. If not, she would stay in it for 2 years, get her green card, divorce him and then after a few more years apply for American citizenship and then sponsor her parents for immigration. The plan was not ever for her to have a successful marriage. If that happened that was great, but the plan was for her to legally immigrate and then sponsor her parents to immigrate as soon as she became a citizen. So you see already we have a dishonest young woman whose motivation for marriage is to get the hell out of her country.

      What she didn't count on was that her future husband was just as dishonest. Instead of having his own house and a good job like he told her, he lived in a rented house and barely got by. His first wife cleaned him out and he had basically almost nothing left as I said earlier. They got married quickly after this young lady arrived in America and when she found out that she had been lied to, she began to sleep around on him and didn't do much to hide it. The marriage went downhill quickly and at some point, he woke up and realized that after she got her green card (it takes at least 2 years of marriage to the person who applied for the K-1 visa before the green card is given), she was going to divorce him. He didn't feel like he could go through that again, so he hired someone to kill her. Her body was found and he was sent away to prison for life.

      So if you're still with me, we have a story of two dishonest people who found each other and it ended in the death of one and the imprisonment of the other. To make things worse, the young lady's parents used every excuse in the book to try to exploit her death to be allowed to immigrate to America. They were not successful.

      Now you're wondering, how on earth did this tale of 2 dishonest people lead to the IMBRA? Well, some of the Washington press told the truth about the story and mentioned how the young lady was having affairs on her husband. Most did not. It makes a better story to ignore that and paint her as an innocent victim who did nothing wrong and was killed by an American wacko. Now enter some Congresswoman
  • I've been on the internet dating sites before.

    Anybody who decides to MARRY somebody they've never met before, ESPECIALLY if they are outside of driving distance is an idiot.

    A "little" and I mean "little" common sense can go a LOOOOONG way. Most bogus profiles can be spotted a mile away. Also..anybody who is from Eastern Europe, Russia, is HOT and writes you an email that has non-specific information riddled through it can go in the trash. :)
  • Best of three (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 99luftballon (838486) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:27AM (#15486009)
    In my experience when internet dating potential partners have only two of the following three qualities: Attractive

    Single

    Mentally stable
  • by Money for Nothin' (754763) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @07:09AM (#15486279)
    I use dating sites. I do not want regulation of content on them. Stay the fuck out of my life. I will decide whether somebody is a fake, whether the site is putting up garbage, etc. (and it's not *that* difficult).

    Go back to your home towns and find a school's bake sale to help run. Stop legislating your way into every goddamn nook and cranny of everybody's lives. While you're at it, how about repealing some other regulations, since you've already gone too far?
  • Experience (Score:3, Interesting)

    by adzoox (615327) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @07:25AM (#15486336) Journal
    I have lots of girl/friends and I have met a number of women from using the Yahoo, Match.com, and eHarmony personals. Generally, what I have found is that the women who are on internet personals (and are legit) are there for a reason.

    Women most often lie about weight ... with the average women saying they are average and actually being overweight.

    Men, it seems, most often lie about being married.

    If you want to read the worst internet date ever ... I published a story on my BLOG back in March that all of my friends have been begging me to write down for years. If, after reading it, you don't think there should be regulation of these sites ... well ... let's just say ...Maybe we should have YOU investigated and regulated.

    The Worst Date Ever For An Apple Tech [fixyourthinking.com]

  • Hmmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jesus IS the Devil (317662) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @07:30AM (#15486363)
    Ok which senator got scammed by some fat ugly gay man pretending to be a shy 18 year old virgin chick?

    You know that's probably the reason this bill is being introduced.
  • ...you can't legislate it away, either. It is not the government's job to protect your from your own dumbassitude. :-)

    If you don't have the sense to sniff out a phony, you shouldn't be dating at all, much less attempting long-distance hookups over the internet.

    ~Philly

    PS - I'm glad the government won the war on terror, cleaned up the mess in Iraq, and finished rebuilding New Orleans so we can finally focus on the evil-doers who lie in online personal ads.
  • by Iridium_Hack (931607) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @07:49AM (#15486473)
    Perhaps the mail order bride legislation should reflect it. In a CBS news article on the subject, Natasha Spivak, founder of Encounters International, a Bethesda, Maryland-based service, said she had "no objection to mandatory background checks", but felt it would not totally prevent abusive from getting a foreign wife. O n the other hand, she contended that, "male clients, not the women, are the most likely to be victimized in mail-order marriages. Some women, she said, enter such marriages solely to gain U.S. citizenship, then falsely complain of physical abuse as a ploy to remain in America despite divorce. Some of these women are sharks". Although the legislation is promoted with the noblest of intentions (to get votes), it's unlikely to make any great impact. Let the buyer beware!
  • I would like to take this story to bash True.com. You know, that horrible horrible "dating service" that is pushed on Myspace. They must pay a fortune for their placement.

    Anyway, I'm on OkCupid as it is free, and thought I'd see if True was free. IT IS NOT! They indicate in no way shape or form that it costs money until after you enter personal information at which time they will spam the living hell out of you. Your profile will get tons of winks or whatever the fuck system they use in an attempt to l

  • Dating site fraud... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SmokeSerpent (106200) <benjamin.psnw@com> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:47PM (#15489232) Homepage
    Here is an experiment you can do in the comfort of your own home. It won't work with any of the established "serious" dating sites liek yahoo, Match.com, eHarmony... but try it with one of the newer, agressively marketted sites, like... i don't know... true.com, basically any place that does not allow you to reply to "winks" with a self-written email unless you pay will work:

    1. Create a free profile. Do not accept the offer for a "free trial period", just join, put in your age and city, etc. Fill out as much of the rest of the form as you like, but to get the most out of this experiment, I recommend that you do not upload a photo.

    2. Wait.

    3. After about a week, you will start getting "winks" or "smiles" or whatever they call them on your chosen website. They will all be from women at or near the minimum age you put in your "who I'm looking for" criteria, they will have cute but not unbelievable pictures, and may or may not have their profile information filled out. Occasionally, despite not having your own picture uploaded, you will get a wink that says, "I liked your photo" or something similar.

    In order to reply to these "winks", you have to join the site. Sound fishy?

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