A woman whose photo was allegedly used without consent in profiles on Match.com has filed a large class-action lawsuit.
Yuliana Avalos, 31, filed the trademark-infringement suit. The model claims photos of her have been used without consent in at least 200 fake profiles posted on Match.com and other websites run by co-defendant IAC/InterActiveCorp of Manhattan, according to the New York Post.
The lawsuit alleges that an “extensive investigation” of complaints by hundreds of potential class-action members showed the websites’ subscribers are routinely being “scammed” out of user fees by “criminals” working out of Internet cafes overseas in Nigeria, Ghana and Russia. It claims thousands – if not millions – of photos pirated off the Internet are being posted as false ads in the form of fake profiles.
“Not a day goes by when someone doesn’t tell me that they saw my pictures posted on Match.com or another web site,” Avalos said.
She also told the New York Daily News that her photos were used in an online scam that drove 70-year-old Al Circelli of Yonkers, N.Y., to commit suicide.
“The woman who he thought he was talking to was begging him for money and he finally went broke,” Avalos stated. “He had to borrow money from his son. He went bankrupt. He lost everything. He was so ashamed that he killed himself.”
The suit seeks $1 billion in punitive damages and $500 million in compensatory damages for non-members whose photographs were wrongly used by the dating sites. It also seeks a court order mandating the sites screen international IP addresses from posting domestic profiles in the United States.
A representative from Match.com commented on the suit to the Huffington Post.
"The real scam here is this meritless lawsuit, which is filled with outlandish conspiracy theories and clumsy fabrications in lieu of factual or legal basis. We’re confident that our legal system is as adept as we are at detecting scammers and will dismiss this case in short order.”