UK Police have issued a warning that an armed gang is using the dating app Grindr to rob unsuspecting men in London. At least two worrying incidents have taken place in the UK city of London by the users of the dating app “Grindr.” A gang of four men made contact with their male victims through the gay and bisexual dating app, and then luring them on fake dates before robbing them at knifepoint. UK police are confident that the same gang is so far responsible for all reported incidents so far.
Using an online dating app to meet other like-minded people has become big business in the last few years. While Tinder is perhaps the best known modern dating app currently, Grindr is almost identical, but is aimed primarily at the gay and bisexual market.
Detective Constable Sheree Yates from the Croydon area police service said that both victims of the knife point robbery had not received any serious physical wounds in the attacks, but had been left severely shaken by the incidents. She also warned anyone, of any sexuality to take care when using “online dating apps and sites [and] to take steps to help them to stay safe whilst meeting strangers.
Grindr also released a statement in response to the violent incidents:
“Grindr has always encouraged users to treat the platform as they would any other social interaction in their lives, with a measure of caution and an awareness of their own safety….”There are many ways to verify and take steps to protect yourself, from meeting in more public spaces to getting phone numbers and speaking beforehand. We take these matters very seriously and cooperate with local law enforcement at all turns where we can.”
Grindr also stated that over two million people use the Grindr app globally every day.
UK police also took the opportunity to issue some safety tips for anyone using social media and online dating apps. These include:
- Always meeting in a public place where there lots of other people
- Not sharing personal details until they feel they can trust their date
- Always let others know where you are going before embarking on a real life date
- Drinking responsibly and never leaving a drink unattended
- Ensuring your mobile phone is fully charged and working
- Not feeling obligated to stay on a date if you feel uncomfortable, for any reason
While the current gang responsible for targeting Grindr users is located in England, it is good advice for anyone using any medium to date online and to always be careful, wherever they are in the world.
At the time of writing, UK Police were still said to be hunting for the gang responsible for the attacks.