3 Dating Sites Sign Calif. Consumer Protection Pact

SACRAMENTO — Three of the top mainstream online dating services have agreed to protect members by running background checks on prospective clients.

The agreement between California's attorney general and online dating providers eHarmony.com, Match.com and Spark Networks, operator of such websites as JDate.com and BlackSingles.com, creates a rapid-reporting system which that gives members access to a website, email address and phone number to report suspected criminal activity, including physical safety concerns and fraud.

The sites also will cross reference prospective clients with national sex offender registries and look for fake profiles. Anyone who is a registered sex offender will be barred from the online dating services.

The attorney general, along with the dating companies, issued a joint statement of the new business principles last week.

While some dating sites have already implemented a background check on prospective members, the announcement is the first joint effort with law enforcement. XBIZ queried a number of adult dating sites to see if any such processes are in place; however the companies have yet to respond.

Online dating services garnered 40 million users last year in what amounted to about $1 billion on membership fees, according to California's Department of Justice.

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, according to the agency.