Banned from a site

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Dec 19, 2014
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The pandemic has severely impaired my (and most everybody's) social life.
I am single and wanted to meet somebody.

So I signed up for a few dating sites, including "Plenty of Fish".
Some of them I found useless (I live in Prescott Arizona. I know you know the region so must realize that there is not a huge supply if youngish available women here).

Some of the "women" were looking for "sugar daddys", scams, or even almost pornographic.
But most were fine and a few were attractive enough to contact. I am even still in touch with a couple of them.

Most of these sites are "free" but if you want them to have any useful features there are costs. I am a "premium" subscriber to POF (Plenty of fish) till sometime in May.

On Sunday, I received the following email:

Your email has been updated!​
RatherBeReading, your email has been updated on Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 6:25:15 AM. If you updated this information, you can safely ignore this email.

If you did not update your profile, or your account is compromised reset your password as soon as you can. A friendly reminder that when you choose a password, it shouldn't be used for another website or online login.

If you're unable to change your password, visit our help center.
___________________

SInce I had NOT updated my email (and this was sent to the correct email), I went online to change my password. Of course my "old" password no longer worked to I did the "forgot password" routine which indicated an email would be sent to me with instructions to reset.

I waited. No email. Repeated. No email.

So I contacted Customer service. I got the following robot email:

Hi Robbgordon!
Your ticket (1306117) with Plenty of Fish has been created. Hold tight! We aim to respond within 24 hours, but if we hit some delays we apologize - our team is working as quickly as possible.
If there's anything you missed that might help us locate your account or get a better handle on your issue, like your Plenty of Fish username or a screenshot, feel free to reply to this email, and we'll be sure to update your ticket.
If you don’t see a reply in your inbox soon, be sure to take a look in your spam or junk folder.
Have a fabulous day,
Plenty of Fish
___________________________
Then, nothing. So I tried again. This time I got a response:​

Martin (Plenty of Fish Support)​

Mon, Mar 22, 7:54 AM (3 days ago)
I0X05dDxpDvv2rZpMXlrbmy24gZg77zu4Ql_7IKBPSrx-X15wEW4wTvVyc1P_o0T288Up2W6ABQRpBfIURT0ddk8oH5yQCA=s0-d-e1-ft

I0X05dDxpDvv2rZpMXlrbmy24gZg77zu4Ql_7IKBPSrx-X15wEW4wTvVyc1P_o0T288Up2W6ABQRpBfIURT0ddk8oH5yQCA=s0-d-e1-ft
to me
I0X05dDxpDvv2rZpMXlrbmy24gZg77zu4Ql_7IKBPSrx-X15wEW4wTvVyc1P_o0T288Up2W6ABQRpBfIURT0ddk8oH5yQCA=s0-d-e1-ft

Your account on Plenty of Fish was deleted for violating our Community Guidelines and/or Terms of Use.

While we do not disclose details of the violation, you can review the Community Guidelines and Terms of Use.

The closure of your account is permanent, and any future accounts will be automatically detected and deleted by the system.

We appreciate your understanding.

Thanks for reaching out,
Martin
______________________________
Chris, the worst trouble I have ever been in were traffic tickets when I was young. I am not a rule breaker. In fact, I am in charge of policing conduct and ethics at an organization with 150,000 members! It is IMPOSSIBLE that I was responsible for this unless there is some technical thing, but then I would have expected them to just explain it. No, my account must have been hacked, which would explain the original message.
So I responded:
"OK - I totally can't imagine how these were violated. Perhaps my account was hacked? I am the least violating person you have ever communicated with. If I could see exactly what was violated, I could at least tell you if it was me!"
No response. So then I sent this:
"It is my understanding that my "membership" is paid through May 22. If you are not going to tell me what I did to violate guidelines (because I can't imagine that I did - I never write anything nasty, unpleasant, or suggestive, and my profile is all completely true), then you need to refund the balance of my dues. Please don't tell me that your terms of service allow you to keep it. Right now I am pretty angry at this unjust accusation without ANY evidence."
I finally got a response:

Martin (Plenty of Fish Support)​

Mon, Mar 22, 8:48 AM (3 days ago)
I0X05dDxpDvv2rZpMXlrbmy24gZg77zu4Ql_7IKBPSrx-X15wEW4wTvVyc1P_o0T288Up2W6ABQRpBfIURT0ddk8oH5yQCA=s0-d-e1-ft

I0X05dDxpDvv2rZpMXlrbmy24gZg77zu4Ql_7IKBPSrx-X15wEW4wTvVyc1P_o0T288Up2W6ABQRpBfIURT0ddk8oH5yQCA=s0-d-e1-ft
to me
I0X05dDxpDvv2rZpMXlrbmy24gZg77zu4Ql_7IKBPSrx-X15wEW4wTvVyc1P_o0T288Up2W6ABQRpBfIURT0ddk8oH5yQCA=s0-d-e1-ft

Hi Robbgordon,

Thanks for reaching out. I am so sorry. I definitely understand your concern, and I'm escalating your issue so that someone can take a closer look at what's going on right away.

Please stand by and one of my teammates will get back to you with more details ASAP.
Thanks for reaching out,
Martin
Plenty of Fish Team Member
____________________________
OK that's progress. Since then, crickets. I sent a couple of update requests, but I just got form letters back.
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
3,996
6,102
113
the United States
Sadly, your issue is another example of the fragile nature of social media. When it comes to content and banning users, there is really no recourse for users, especially when they decline to state why (which they almost always do).

Scanning the link you provided really emphasizes how really delicate social media is. Banning may occur for:
• activity that spams, solicits money or business from, or defrauds people
• reports of harassment, intimidation, assault, or unwelcome sexual proposition
• content that is violent, graphic or gory, sexually explicit or pornographic
• content that includes hate speech, racism, or bigotry towards any individual or group
• content that violates or infringes on anyone’s rights, rights of publicity, privacy, copyright, trademark or other intellectual property
• content that depicts of criminal activity or drug use

and content that could be a simple as:
• bikinis or swimwear out of context (outside is okay, but not inside)
• lingerie or underwear
• shirtless/underwear mirror selfies
• shirtless photos out of context (shirtless on a beach is okay, but not in your bathroom)

I wish that I had a recommendation . . .
 
Last edited:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
25,520
27,960
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
It’s only been three days since they said they would investigate. Your account was obviously hacked. I would give them a week to reply.

Did you tell them as soon as you received the email you tried to reset your password and couldn’t? It would have been better to give them step by step details of everything you tried to do with dates instead of saying “perhaps my account was hacked”. What you described to us should have been what you sent them.

Why don’t you complete our form to see if our researchers can find executive contacts to escalate.

 
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Dec 19, 2014
5
8
3
64
Sadly, your issue is another example of the fragile nature of social media. When it comes to content and banning users, there is really no recourse for users, especially when they decline to state why (which they almost always do).

Scanning the link you provided really emphasizes how really delicate social media is. Banning may occur for:
• activity that spams, solicits money or business from, or defrauds people
• reports of harassment, intimidation, assault, or unwelcome sexual proposition
• content that is violent, graphic or gory, sexually explicit or pornographic
• content that includes hate speech, racism, or bigotry towards any individual or group
• content that violates or infringes on anyone’s rights, rights of publicity, privacy, copyright, trademark or other intellectual property
• content that depicts of criminal activity or drug use

and content that could be a simple as:
• bikinis or swimwear out of context (outside is okay, but not inside)
• lingerie or underwear
• shirtless/underwear mirror selfies
• shirtless photos out of context (shirtless on a beach is okay, but not in your bathroom)

I wish that I had a recommendation . . .
Thanks. The first bunch I am in favor of. IDK about the second bunch except that I don't have any of those (at least I didn't).
 
Dec 19, 2014
5
8
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It’s only been three days since they said they would investigate. Your account was obviously hacked. I would give them a week to reply.

Did you tell them as soon as you received the email you tried to reset your password and couldn’t? It would have been better to give them step by step details of everything you tried to do with dates instead of saying “perhaps my account was hacked”. What you described to us should have been what you sent them.

Why don’t you complete our form to see if our researchers can find executive contacts to escalate.

Also note that my original contact to "help" there was with my not getting the reset instructions that I had requested. So they know. I did complete the form but it was inadequate for the information I wanted to provide. For example, I had to choose "other" for the business name but there was no place to actually name the business.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
1,006
2,087
113
St. Louis
Also note that my original contact to "help" there was with my not getting the reset instructions that I had requested. So they know. I did complete the form but it was inadequate for the information I wanted to provide. For example, I had to choose "other" for the business name but there was no place to actually name the business.
You originally submitted to the help desk, Neil is referring you to our Research Department which provides company contacts you can use to escalate your issue to attempt to self resolve this first. The following link provides information on how to do so and develop a paper trail we would need to consider becoming directly involved.

 
May 9, 2019
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55
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VoR61 - "Sadly, your issue is another example of the fragile nature of social media. When it comes to content and banning users, there is really no recourse for users, especially when they decline to state why (which they almost always do)."

The same thing happened to me on a similar site. I am not a premium/paying member, so it didn't affect me as much, but I was banned for (what they claimed) spamming. I did nothing of the sort, not even remotely! They said their decision was final, nothing I or they could do, blah, blah, blah. I just deleted the app and reinstalled, created a new profile, and was back in the game. Since it's a free app I had nothing to lose, but being a paying member for you there is some money on the line (not much I hope!).

If I were to speculate, I'd say someone hacked your account (evident from the email address change), and perhaps used it for some nefarious purposes, resulting in the ban. Going back to what VoR61 says, it's the fragile nature of social media. These companies are run primarily by bots or folks with scripted responses who don't give a hoot about anyone.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
25,520
27,960
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
The issue the OP has is that he paid for a subscription and should certainly be refunded on a pro-rated basis because it seems obvious that his account was hacked. I’m assuming whoever hacked the account posted something against the rules of the site.

He needs to re-write his letter by showing the company his account was hacked and the letter he posted doesn’t show that at all- there were no facts about the hacking. He has to prove he tried to correct the issue as soon as he received the email about the password change.
 
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Dec 19, 2014
5
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You originally submitted to the help desk, Neil is referring you to our Research Department which provides company contacts you can use to escalate your issue to attempt to self resolve this first. The following link provides information on how to do so and develop a paper trail we would need to consider becoming directly involved.

OK, I see. This is going to take a bit of work. POF is owned by "Match Group" who seem to own almost every dating site (and I haven't been kicked off any of them afaik). It may also require snailmail. I'm having problems finding email addresses.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
25,520
27,960
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
OK, I see. This is going to take a bit of work. POF is owned by "Match Group" who seem to own almost every dating site (and I haven't been kicked off any of them afaik). It may also require snailmail. I'm having problems finding email addresses.
It you click on the link in post 3 and complete the information, our researchers will see if they can find the contact information for you.
 
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Aug 29, 2018
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OK, I see. This is going to take a bit of work. POF is owned by "Match Group" who seem to own almost every dating site (and I haven't been kicked off any of them afaik). It may also require snailmail. I'm having problems finding email addresses.
Interesting, I found a web site mtch.com (note -- not a typo!) that is the match group web site; I'd suspect the email addresses may be off that domain?
 

Comicman

Jul 13, 2020
615
1,262
93
I have recently seen similar. Where someone hijacked a POF account. They then changed the password and email so the owner would have problems getting it back. The hijacker then messaged maybe a million users with a spam add for something or other. POF quickly banned the hijacker ( OK, with the hijacker as they will just hijack another account). This left the account owner permanently banned as a spammer and could not open a new account ( well if caught, so use a different email).
 
Dec 19, 2014
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All fixed. Thanks for the assistance. See below:

We believe someone other than you had been able to access your Plenty of Fish account using your log-in credentials. Luckily, our security team was able to detect this suspicious activity, and we closed the account as a security measure.

Specifically, on 3/21/2021 we detected fraudulent messages and acted swiftly once we confirmed that this was not you.

Since closed accounts are deleted permanently and we're not able to reactivate your profile, we'd like to help you out with transferring the remaining time on your upgraded subscription over to a new account instead and top it up with one extra month for the hassle.

We know setting up a new account takes some time, but you can always check out these tips, and we hope you'll let us make it up to you with a free 30-day subscription.
 
Aug 29, 2018
346
579
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I have recently seen similar. Where someone hijacked a POF account. They then changed the password and email so the owner would have problems getting it back. The hijacker then messaged maybe a million users with a spam add for something or other. POF quickly banned the hijacker ( OK, with the hijacker as they will just hijack another account). This left the account owner permanently banned as a spammer and could not open a new account ( well if caught, so use a different email).
Usually these hijacks are from re-used passwords and/or easily cracked passwords. I highly recommend using a password manager (I use 1password) and reset all your passwords to a random password.

This time it was a dating site. Next time?
 
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