If you are single and living alone right now, It’s natural to reach out for some companionship and human interaction using online dating services, but as the FBI points out this has its own set of dangers associated with it.
Criminals don’t care for safety restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic and we are seeing first hand that recruiting on dating apps is going through the roof! Our phones are ringing and pinging with calls and texts from women who are experiencing the downside of looking for love during a pandemic.
Gwen (name changed for protection, story shared with permission), is a suburban housewife in northwestern Illinois who is going through a tough divorce. She has been quarantined at home for several weeks with 3 children and just needed a break. She decided to try dating online. Gwen signed up for a profile and began to chat with a few prospective men. She flirted all in good fun and finally thought she had found someone she might like to meet in the future. From the moment she expressed that desire, the man started pushing hard for information. At first, he started asking personal questions in a very sweet way. Gwen wasn’t suspicious until he started asking her for her schedule post-quarantine.
The less she told him the more questions came from different angles. Finally he asked to come over. For Gwen, this was when it started to click that something was wrong. Who would want to risk COVID-19 to meet face to face? She stopped talking to him and called our tip line. Unfortunately, she did not take any screenshots of the handle he was using and so when she logged back in his profile was gone.
This is not at all unusual and if you do find yourself in a sticky situation please
take immediate screenshots. Whole screen ones so we can use this to investigate, or
file a report.
It’s internet safety month so please learn more about how to stay safe