I am sure if you have ever used a dating site to meet potential “matches”, you have at least once come across someone who has misrepresented oneself in an on line dating profile. Granted, don’t we all try to put our best foot forward? But grossly misrepresenting the age, height, the number of children, marital status, body type and other parameters is a growing problem that seems to be becoming more prevalent along with the advent of the online dating industry. Married people looking to have an affair outside of the marital commitment, guys lying about their height by as much as four! inches, women lying about their weight by tens of pounds, twenty-year-old photographs taken at the high school prom. This list continues.
But did you know that misrepresenting oneself in an online dating profile could be actionable fraud? Not that it is worthy of filing an action to recover monetary damages from such persons, but I want to alert people who feel that they have fallen prey to such misrepresentations.
This information is based solely on my own personal research and is intended only for general informational purposes and your response and thoughts. This article should not in any way be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please, consult a Bar-Certified attorney in your state of residence. For such purposes, you may want to request a legal consultation with an attorney here.
Please, refer to footnotes for more information about the actual cases and codes cited in this article.
Revisiting the matter of online dating profile misrepresentations, California Civil Code section 1710 defines deceit for purposes of an action for fraud as:
1. The suggestion, as a fact, of that which is not true, by one who does not believe it to be true;
2. The assertion, as a fact, of that which is not true, by one who has no reasonable ground for believing it to be true;
3. The suppression of a fact, by one who is bound to disclose it, or who gives information of other facts which are likely to mislead for want of communication of that fact; or,
4. Promise, made without any intention of performing it. 
Here is a short background from a lawsuit filed by TRUE against one of its members who failed to disclose his felony conviction in his application for online dating services.
DALLAS, Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ “The leading online relationship service TRUE(R) filed a lawsuit in United States District Court against convicted sex offender Dr. Robert Wells of Walnut Creek, California.
Dr. Wells was convicted in 2001 of attempted lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 years, a felony Contemporaneous press reports indicate that Dr.Wells allegedly planned to "abduct and rape" his underage victim.
Upon becoming a member of TRUE, Dr. Wells claimed he was not a felon. TRUE believes this false representation violated both federal and state law.
Upon discovering Dr. Wells' felony history, TRUE took immediate action to increase the safety of its membership base, reporting Dr. Wells to appropriate authorities and taking the unprecedented step of filing suit against Dr. Wells. TRUE is seeking a permanent injunction preventing Dr. Wells from accessing the TRUE.com website and contacting its members. In addition, TRUE believes that Dr. Wells violated federal wire fraud laws when he falsely represented himself to TRUE and its members as a non-felon. This charge could subject Dr. Wells to additional fines, penalties and jail time."
DALLAS, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/-- "TRUE.com(R), the leading scientifically based online relationship service, congratulates New Jersey legislators for yesterday enacting the nation's first online dating legislation -- which is designed to protect the growing number of New Jersey citizens who are going online to meet potential dates. The Internet Dating Safety Act (Senate Bill-1977/A4304) requires online dating services to disclose their criminal background screening practices and to offer safer dating tips on their sites. With the growing concern nationwide about online safety overall, this legislation reinforces TRUE's steadfast commitment to safer online dating.
TRUE's first lawsuit was filed in November 2005 against a convicted
felon and registered sex offender in California who misrepresented his felony status and improperly accessed TRUE's database. The lawsuit resulted in an agreement in September 2006 that prevented the convicted felon from signing up, using or communicating through any online dating or relationship service, among other terms. The company also filed a civil lawsuit in March 2007 against a convicted felon and registered sex offender in Florida, charging that he misrepresented his felony status when attempting to access TRUE's members. The judge in that case also permanently banned the felon from accessing TRUE's Web site.”
But what about misrepresentations that are not as serious as a misrepresentation defrauding your online pen pals about your criminal convictions? First, if you really want to be a pain in the neck, you can try to recover your actual monetary damages incurred in conjunction with meeting in person someone you have met online. Say, for instance, you meet a woman who lives miles away. She has nice photos, and looks in decent physical shape. You don’t live in the same state, so you correspond online and on the telephone for a while before you actually take the plunge and buy her a first class airline ticket and book her in a fancy hotel in your city which is going to cost you an arm and a leg. But you want to impress her, so you survive on chicken ramen for a couple of weeks and pay the top dollar for her travel expenses.
When she shows up, she doesn’t look anything like her pictures, or looks at least ten years older, 30 lbs. heavier, and you have no attraction as a result of the gross misrepresentation she has published online. Are your damages recoverable? Consult an attorney to find out if you have a cause of action.
What about a woman who advertises herself as single, while being married? You take her out on multiple dates, pay for expensive dinners and buy her gifts in the hopes to have a relationship possible leading to marriage. If your intention is exactly that, while she has absolutely no interest in getting divorced and re-marrying, you may be able to sue her in small claims court for the cost that you have incurred as a result of her misrepresentation.
To summarize this article, whenever you are tempted to embellish the truth as easy as it may seem to be in an online dating profile, remember that the consequences may be more serious then you think. If nothing else, if you always tell the truth, you have less to remember.
 California Codes, Civil Code Section 1710
 “Internet Dating Safety Act”