(NewsNation) — The dangers of online dating were highlighted this week when it was disclosed that the suspect in a violent kidnapping in Oregon used dating sites to potentially find new victims, according to police.
Researchers from Brigham Young University in Utah analyzed records from 2017 to 2020 of about 2,000 sexual assault victims and found that 14% of the attacks happened after meeting on a dating app.
“Make yourself hard to find,” Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious told host Ashleigh Banfield on Wednesday night on “Banfield.” “People use their business profile pictures. … We don’t want you to do that.”
Mankarious shared the following tips to safely navigate dating apps.
- Create a new profile picture
- Use separate email accounts
- Check to see if prospective dates are verified
- Try a reverse image search
- Do a virtual call with someone first
- Always meet in a public place, on your turf
- Share your location with a friend before the date
- Use your own transportation, stay sober
“These are minor things, but I’m surprised that people don’t think about adding these safeguards, and we want them to think about that before they jump on these dating apps,” Mankarious said.