The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on Nov. 2 voted 11-8 to advance a bipartisan bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) that would require online dating service providers to provide fraud ban notifications to their online members.
“While we can’t stop all criminals, this bill is an important step to fill a communication gap and help people make more informed decisions,” Rep. Valadao said. “Thank you to my colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee for advancing this bipartisan, common-sense legislation.”
The E&C Committee approved the Online Dating Safety Act of 2023, H.R. 6125, which Rep. Valadao introduced on Oct. 30 alongside lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D-CO).
If enacted, H.R. 6125 specifically would require an online dating service provider to provide a member of its service with a fraud ban notification if the member has received a message through the online dating service from a banned member of that service, according to the text of the bill.
A fraud ban notification shall include the username or other profile identifier of the banned member; a statement that the banned member may have been using a false identity or attempting to defraud members; a statement that a member should not send money or personal financial information to another member; and contact information to reach the customer service department of the online dating service provider, among other requirements, the text says.
“Unfortunately, our seniors are often the ones who fall victim to romance scams,” said Rep. Valadao. “The countless stories of fraud cases that started on these dating platforms are devastating for the livelihoods of many older Americans.”
The bill now heads to the full U.S. House of Representatives for action.