Sites that acknowledge the use of fictional profiles try to conceal this fact as much as possible. They only make such disclosures to distance themselves from potential liabilities. But they also try to hide this information as much as possible. Users can only find this information by looking at the Terms and Conditions or the small print disclaimer, on the landing page. Most users do not read everything carefully.
Match2Locals.com has employed the same tactics by making the Terms and Conditions inaccessible to users without an account. They have also printed a small disclaimer warning potential users that the site uses fake profiles. Some users may not see this warning and may sign up expecting a real connection. In our experience, these scams rip off unsuspecting users by asking them to buy credits and chat with people they will never meet.
The following excerpt is taken from the landing page disclaimer
I declare to be 18 or older and agree to the Terms and Conditions, to understand that I use a chat service containing fictional profiles and is meant to exchange messages and not for making physical dates.
Data privacy concerns
The disclaimer on the landing page also informs potential users that by creating a free account, they agree that their personal information can be used by the privacy statement. This statement hints that the site may use data in ways that some users will find uncomfortable.
In reviews of fake chats that we have done in previous instances, sites tend to share information with third parties. These could be advertisers, potential owners, investors, and tech companies who conduct analytics. We could not access the site’s privacy statement to confirm this to be the case, but users should be aware of this possibility.