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On a false test profile set up by the documentary makers for “James”, 46, from Glasgow, received nearly 500 messages in two months.One perfect match was “Kazb”, who was using a photograph of Karen Bartke, an actress appearing in several prime-time dramas, including Monarch of the Glen.
' “I really object to someone taking advantage with people like that, using my photo." Another profile on the site, claiming to belong to a woman from Glasgow, was using an old photograph of Michelle Pfeiffer.Other lonely hearts complained that they were inundated with messages, then when they paid the subscription fee to reply interest in their profile dried up completely.John Isaacs, who spent £4,000 on dating sites looking for love after his divorce, said: "All of a sudden, the number of hits that I experienced just dissolved.And then, you know, as soon as your subscription lapsed then hey-ho all of these people suddenly re-appeared again, like mushrooms." Simon Entwisle, Director of Operations as the Information Commissioner's Office, said he was concerned that it appeared it was being “done as a matter of course”.Pictures, names, email addresses, dates of birth and detail of the sexual orientation of unsuspecting members of the public are being purchased by dating websites to create false profiles of attractive people, it has been claimed.Panorama purchased the data of 10,000 people from Usdate – a company which sells profiles to sites - and found it included photographs of Brad Pitt, Michael Caine and Rick Stein.
Some of the contact details were genuine, including the email addresses of academics, a House of Lords life peer and BBC employees, all of whom said they had never used a dating website.
Whistle-blower Ryan Pitcher has also confirmed he ran a team creating “pseudo” profiles for Global Personals, the third largest dating company in Britain, responsible for more than 10,000 dating sites, until 2010.
He said: "We'd steal someone's identity through say My Space or something, we'd take someone from a totally different country, ie. “We'd take the person's photos online and we'd start knocking out messages.
It was all fake and under the pretence that it was real." Global Personals said that since 2010 it has ensured that the site is free of pseudo accounts.
However, on one of their sites, Flirt Naughty, investigations uncovered 198 profiles of women within five miles Hogha Gerraidh in the Western Isles.
In reality fewer than 100 people live within five miles of the tiny hamlet.