Callers are conned by 'fake' dating adverts

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The Independent Online
HUNDREDS of users of telephone dating services risk being conned by advertisements for 'fake' services which fail to live up to the description provided. ICSTIS, the watchdog body governing premium-rate telephone services, says that this is an area of growing concern, with complaints about telephone dating services almost doubling last year to 435.

Valerie Howarth, spokeswoman for ICSTIS, said: 'There are only so many long-legged blondes in a community. But if you read the ads you might think differently.'

ICSTIS is worried that many telephone dating advertisements are placed just for the revenue generated by the calls - often made to an electronic message machine - which are then not answered. The calls cost 39p a minute at cheap rate and 49p at peak times.

Ms Howarth also said that there is concern that some dating services might be a cover for prostitution. This has not been a significant problem so far, but ICSTIS has pulled the plug on 150 dating lines because they were sexually explicit or had sexual overtones.