Dating app warning as related crimes skyrocket

By Petrus Malherbe
12 January 2016

Crimes associated with these apps have increased by 700 % in the past two years.

Many South Africans use online dating apps such as Tinder and OK Cupid in the hope that they’ll find love with a few clicks. But experts are now warning that crimes associated with these apps have increased by 700 % in the past two years.

Figures recently released by the Press Association show that only 55 crimes involving dating apps were reported in 2013 in England and Wales. By 2014 the figure had risen to 204 and by October last year to 412.

Although these figures apply only to crimes in Britain the tendency has been observed worldwide.

Most crimes associated with Tinder involve violence and sexual assault. Cases of rape, assault and even attempted murder have been reported.

This popular app allows users to trace singles in their neighbourhoods by connecting to the user’s Facebook profile.

Criminals use the app to lure vulnerable users, although there have so far been no cases of abduction that could be directly associated with Tinder.

Meanwhile the company maintains the number of crimes committed through the app is insignificant. Tinder says it has facilitated more than 10 billion matches, proving that most meetings don’t result in a crime.

But skeptics have a different view. They say the true number of related to Tinder meetings is possibly being kept secret. Or people don’t always implicate Tinder in their police reports.

In a statement Tinder said, “People with bad intentions exist in coffee shops, bookstores, on social media and social apps” and that these examples represent “a minuscule percentage” of user experiences on Tinder.

But the company says it regards the safety of its users in a serious light, although there’s little they can do.

Apart from a photograph or two and a sentence to describe themselves there’s no more information available about someone you might see on Tinder.

Vulnerable users can easily fall into a trap and be financially and/or sexually exploited by people they don’t know.

Peter Tatchell, a gay rights activist, has asked for a campaign to be started to inform the public of the dangers of such online apps.

He says the days are over when you could go to someone’s house thinking you are heading for a safe, innocent meeting with someone who seemed interesting on Tinder.

Sources: Metro.co.uk; SkyNews; The Independent

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