Yuliana Avalos, a Florida bikini model, is suing Match.com for $1.5 billion because photos of her were used hundreds of times in fake profiles on the dating site.
Yes, she’s suing for $1.5 billion (with a “b”) because someone used her face and likeness illegally. That sounds a little excessive to me. You?
To be fair, Avalos says her image was used as part of an online scam and may have caused a man’s death. Let me explain.
The scam artists were using Avalos’ image (which they obtained from her modeling site and travel blog) as part of a catfish scheme in which a mark gets suckered into sending money to a scammer posing as someone else.
In this case, 70-year-old Al Circelli killed himself after repeatedly sending payments to a person he thought was Avalos. He had fallen in love with an image and a profile of a person who didn’t really exist.
“The woman who he thought he was talking to was begging him for money and he finally went broke,” Avalos told the New York Daily News. “He had to borrow money from his son. He went bankrupt. He lost everything. He was so ashamed that he killed himself.”
Avalos says her likeness is so prevalent on Match.com that it’s obvious the site isn’t doing much to protect users from these catfish scams. She may be right.
Experts say fake profiles are often created in other countries for criminal purposes such as these “romance scams” which entice victims to send money to people outside of the country.
Avalos believes that Match.com is “looking the other way” as it can tell the fake profiles are being posted with IP addresses in foreign countries. The IP addresses and the cities listed on the profiles don’t match.
Personally, I think Match.com should do a better job of policing their site for these types of scams. I also think the thieves who steal other people’s photos should be prosecuted.
But does Avalos deserve $1.5 billion? No! That would make her one of the richest people in the world. Did she really suffer that much damage? It’s a terrible situation and she’s deserving of some compensation, but I think she’d be taken more seriously in court and in the world of public opinion if she came up with a more reasonable amount.
Catfish scams need to stop, but so do lawsuits with silly amounts for damages. Give me a break!
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier