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December 12
1891 - Actor Buck Jones, a Placerita and Vasquez "regular," born in Indiana [story]


[California AG] – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today 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.

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.”

Kamala Harris

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.

This joint statement also ensures that the online dating service providers have rapid abuse reporting systems, which give members access to a website, email address and/or phone number to report any suspected criminal activity, including physical safety concerns and fraud. This agreement reflects best practices that these industry leaders are following.

“In the interest of protecting and educating users, I strongly encourage all online dating companies to adopt the same principles as these industry leaders,” Attorney General Harris said.

Last year, Attorney General Harris established an eCrime Unit to prosecute identity theft, data intrusions and crimes involving the use of technology. Attorney General Harris will assign a liaison from the eCrime Unit to deal with reports of suspected criminal activity provided by the three online dating providers and other providers who adopt these principles.

In 2011, 40 million Americans used an online dating service and spent more than $1 billion on online dating website memberships. Of couples married in the last three years, one in six met through an online dating service and one in five people have dated someone they met through an online dating site.

“eHarmony has the greatest concern for the safety and security of our members. These types of practices have been part of our commitment to member safety and education for many years.” said eHarmony CEO Jeremy Verba. “We are proud to join Attorney General Harris, Match.com and Spark Networks in setting an example for the rest of the online dating industry.”

“We commend Attorney General Harris for working with us to communicate best practices for a safe and enjoyable online dating environment,” said Match.com President Mandy Ginsberg. “We have always been committed to setting the standard for positive consumer experiences in online dating, and we were happy to work with the Attorney General, eHarmony and Spark Networks to encourage best practices throughout the industry.”

“The safety of our members and integrity of our sites is of fundamental importance to us, and we have always taken a multi-faceted approach to creating and maintaining safe online communities like JDate and ChristianMingle,” said Greg Liberman, President and CEO of Spark Networks. “We are honored Attorney General Harris has recognized our efforts to date and look forward to our continuing collaboration with the Attorney General, eHarmony, and Match.com to protect the safety and privacy of online daters and encourage others in the industry to follow our examples.”

A copy of the agreement is attached to the online version of this release at www.oag.ca.gov.

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3 Comments

  1. SOIssues says:

    When you ignore all other crimes, like murder, domestic violence, identity thieves, etc, then how can you say that “safety is of utmost importance,” when clearly it’s not, it’s only to go along with the bandwagon on ex-sex offenders to pacify the sheeple.

  2. yellowroselady says:

    This is irresponsible hype by the Attorney General. If a female goes onto Match.com, eHarmony and Sparks then goes on a date with a “non-registered sex offender” and gets molested or raped then I hope that person sues that company AS WELL AS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL and they are “convicted of “FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY in the 1st DEGREE!
    Statistics from the Justice Policy Institute indicate the recidivism rate for another “sexual” offense is less than 5% and the other 95% of sexual offenses, which never get reported, come from within the child’s family, relative, organization leader, etc. Now for more about the effects of these type stories and public hysteria:
    There are over 763,000 registered men, women and children across the nation required to register. The “crimes” range from urinating in public, sexting, exposure, false accusations by a soon-to-be ex-wife, angry girlfriend, or spiteful student, to looking at abusive or suggestive images of anyone up to 18 years old, solicitation, Romeo and Juliet consensual sexual dating relationships, rape and incest. The registry is a way to make parents “feel good!” Now if you multiply 763,000 by 3 or 4 family members of the registrant there are almost 3,000,000 wives, children, mothers, grandmothers, girlfriends and others suffering the collateral damage caused by the registries. Families are harassed, beaten, threatened, forced to leave their church, lose jobs, and lose friends and family. How is the family supposed to survive and become functional again under these conditions?
    Vicki Henry
    Women Against Registry dot com

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