Yuliana Avalos
Yuliana Avalos

A model from the US state of Florida claims photos from her portfolio were used in an online dating scam that resulted in a New York man killing himself.

Yuliana Avalos made the claim after launching a $1.5bn class action lawsuit against Match.com, based on the assertion that her photos were used in more than 200 profiles.

The suit has reportedly been joined by "thousands" of others including actors and military personnel, who claim their photos were also uploaded in fake profiles that Match.com did nothing to monitor.

"Not a day goes by when someone doesn't tell me that they saw my pictures posted on Match.com or another website," Avalos said.

The 31-year-old told the New York Daily News that one of the profiles, using photos from her travel blog and modelling page, defrauded 70-year-old Al Circelli of thousands of dollars.

"The woman who he thought he was talking to was begging him for money and he finally went broke," Avalos said. "He had to borrow money from his son. He went bankrupt. He lost everything. He was so ashamed that he killed himself."

'He couldn't pay the mortgage'

Circelli started sending messages to someone claiming to be a woman named Aisha, who sent him alluring photographs, which were actually of Avalos.

He made a series of payments to her, amounting to a few hundred dollars at a time, but which eventually mounted up to $50,000.

In order to make the payments to an account in Ghana, Circelli took out loans, credit cards in his son's name, and stopped making the mortgage payments on his home, which eventually went into foreclosure.

Avalos said she was horrified after first being told about the case in an interview with ABC in 2010. She also claimed she has never posted a genuine profile on Match.com

"I have a boyfriend. I'm not looking for a date or a relationship or for any money," she said. "If you see me on any website, it's not me."

A spokesman for the site said: "The real scam here is this meritless lawsuit, which is filled with outlandish conspiracy theories and clumsy fabrications in lieu of factual or legal basis. We're confident that our legal system is as adept as we are at detecting scammers and will dismiss this case in short order."