Side Note

You can now read thousands of complaints from people who got scammed on

On May 14, the Federal Trade Commission decided to update its repository of consumer complaints related to online dating services. If you wish, you can download these missives from jilted lonelyhearts in spreadsheet form here.

Each dating service — Blendr, Bumble, OKCupid, Coffee Meets Bagel, Tinder, Grindr, and — gets their own spreadsheet full of complaints. And judging by the size of the files, was the most scam-tastic dating service of the field — while most of the spreadsheets only take up a few dozen kilobytes, the files add up to about 1.8 megabytes of information. This is in part because in addition to playing host to scammers and hackers, would use misleading language to trick users into paying more money for their service than they’d anticipated and even allegedly went to far as charging fees to customers who thought they had canceled their memberships. One very angry customer complained that, in addition to not being able to stop from charging him $60 per month, he “wasted my time [...] typing letters to 200 women” and didn’t receive a single response, despite being (he alleged) “average looking, 6-foot tall, medium build, clean cut, retired and own 2 houses that are paid for.” While that guy probably didn’t hear back from anyone in part because he seems like a dick, others filed complaints suspecting that they had been messaging with potential partners who didn’t actually exist.

Additionally, the complaints contain countless very sad stories of very lonely people getting caught up in what the FTC terms “romance scams” that ended with them sending thousands of dollars to their nonexistent online beau. One man wrote that, “Over the course of 4 months I sent moneygrams and bank wire transfers [totaling] $600,000” to a woman in Norway he thought was going to marry him. Another reported that she’d been scammed into sending $75,000 to someone who claimed to be a soldier in Afghanistan. A disappointed customer from Texas inadvertently captured the vibe perfectly in his complaint, writing, “basically all the profiles you see on there are most likely fake... [it’s] a scam waiting to happen. thank you.”

PSA: It is not normal when your internet crush asks you to wire them money.