Police in London have warned that an armed gang is using the dating app Grindr to rob unsuspecting men.
Two victims were attacked in separate incidents by four men carrying knives, after going to meet dates they had chatted to online.
“The victims thankfully did not suffer serious physical injuries but have been left very shaken by these incidents,” said Det Con Sheree Yates from Croydon Police.
Police are still hunting for the gang.
Two million people
Grindr is a dating app that lets men find nearby suitors based on satellite location data.
The company says two million people around the world use the app every day.
Croydon Police said it was doing everything it could to find and arrest the gang members.
It also issued safety tips for men using apps like Grindr.
Safety tips for online dating
Always meet in a public place with lots of people around
Don`t share personal details until you trust the person with whom you are communicating
If you decide to meet in person, let someone know where you are going and when you`re likely to return
Plan your journey to and from the date in advance. If using a mini-cab, always pre-book
Drink responsibly and never leave your drink unattended
Ensure your mobile phone is fully charged and working
If at any time you feel uncomfortable, leave the date – you are not obliged to stay
Source: Croydon Police
“We are keen to identify the suspects as soon as possible and are appealing to anyone with any information to contact the police,” said Det Con Yates.
“I would urge everyone who uses online dating apps and sites to take steps to help them to stay safe whilst meeting strangers.”
A spokesperson for Grinder said: “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.”