Tinder and Grindr: Warning over dating app risks as crimes like ‘sextortion’ and rape increases

Reports of crimes mentioning either app have increased sevenfold in two years

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The Independent Online

The number of crimes thought to involve the use of dating apps has increased by 560 per cent in the past two years.

There were 412 reports of crime in England and Wales mentioning Grindr or Tinder in 2015, a far cry from the 55 reports filed in 2013.

In 2014, the number of crimes reported made a huge leap to 204, according to figures obtained by the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act.

Among the crimes alerted to the police, there were reports of rape, grooming, and attempted murder included.

Experts have said the findings are “shocking” and are urging authorities to launch an awareness campaign dealing with the dangers of meeting strangers through dating apps.

According to them, users are vulnerable to “sextortion” and warned the figures may not tell the whole story as there may be victims too afraid or embarrassed to go to the police.

The figures come from reports where either app was mentioned, and does not automatically mean the app was used directly by the perpetrator of the crime.

However, there have been documented reports in which this has been the case.

Deputy Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Andy Cooke, said the increasing popularity of such apps and websites have contributed to the rise of recorded crimes, and encourages users to report any offences and seek support if they do fall victim.

Mr Cooke, who is also the National Police Chief’s Council’s lead on violence and public protection, urged people not to share personal information with strangers.

He added: “Individuals should stop all communication with anyone who attempts to pressurise them into something they are not comfortable with.”