Users of dating apps like Tinder are being warned by police to be cautious after a Wellington man was scammed and threatened by a woman he met on the app.
Police say the man was contacted by a woman on Tinder with a request for money — which he gave her.
He was then visited by the woman and two gang members who demanded more money and escorted him to an ATM.
Today’s caution by police also follows a teenage boy and girl accused of stabbing a man in the chest after meeting him on Tinder.
Martin Cocker, the executive director of Netsafe told Paul Henry the concept of isolating and robbing people is not entirely new but it escalating as more and more people use dating apps.
“It’s a very private platform… It’s just between your phone and theirs. There’s no community platform.”
Mr Cocker also says people are often using the apps secretly, and with Grindr (a gay dating app) there is a double level of secrecy, as sometimes people haven’t come out yet, and therefore they don’t tell anyone who they are conversing with online. He also knows of physical assaults on people using Grindr.
This year alone Netsafe has received 14 complaints from Tinder users; more than for the whole of last year. Most of these complaints have been about financial scams.
Mr Cocker thinks more complaints will be coming in as the dating app gets more publicity and more users.
He also says there is always a risk element when you use these apps and you can’t spot scammers or offenders.
“One of the messages is ‘slow down’.”
Some of the advice he offers is common sense, but says people become motivated by intentions of the app.
“If you’re going to do it, don’t send people money. If they’re asking for money, it’s just a scam.
“If you’re going to meet up with someone, do it in public before you meet in private. You’re less likely to be assaulted or scammed.”