Online dating platforms have recently gained popularity as a way to meet new people and start relationships. While many people are satisfied with their dating life, that's not the case for others. According to a study done by the Pew Research Center, over a quarter of women surveyed found their dating experience to be “extremely or very upsetting.”
It's a no-brainer that online dating can be a dangerous game. You never really know who you're talking to; sometimes, people are not who they seem. If you're new to online dating, it's essential to be aware of the most common crimes committed by people on dating websites and apps.
Electronic Solicitation of Children
This crime occurs when an adult uses an online platform to connect with a child (someone 15 years of age or younger) to engage in sexual conduct. The sexual conduct does not have to happen in order for someone to be guilty of this offense. Simply soliciting the sexual conduct is enough.
Rape & Sexual Assault
With such a large number of people using online dating sites, it's not surprising that there are reports of sexual assault linked to online dating. According to the same study referenced above, around 19% of women daters reported increased occurrences of threats of physical harm while dating online.
Most sexual assaults linked to online dating occur during the first date when the two individuals are meeting for the first time. The assailant will often be someone that the date has been communicating with online but has never met in person.
In recent years, there have been several high-profile cases in which someone has used online dating to meet and then murder their date. While these cases are relatively rare, they highlight the dangers that can be associated with online dating.
Scams and Robbery
Online dating can also be used as a means of financial exploitation as some people use it to manipulate unsuspecting victims.
One of the most common online dating crimes begins with ‘catfishing,’ where someone creates a false online identity to later trick people into sending them money or personal information. Catfishers usually create fake profiles on dating sites and then build relationships with their victims, frequently over an extended period of time, before eventually asking for money. Romance fraudsters usually target vulnerable or lonely people, often pretending to be soldiers or desperate professionals working overseas.
How to Practice Online Dating Safely
We have some tips to share for having a safe, enjoyable experience with your date. These tips include:
- Always meet in a public place. This could be a coffee shop, restaurant, or park. Meeting in a public place will help to ensure that you're both comfortable and safe.
- Be sure to tell a friend or family member where you're going and who you'll be meeting. It's always good to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong.
- Trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Don't hesitate to end communication with someone if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
- Do not share personal information with anyone, especially people you've just met. This includes your full name, address, phone number, and email address.
Let Us Help You
If you have been charged with a crime related to online dating, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure where to turn. The good news is that our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you fight the charges and protect your rights.
Whatever your specific situation may be, our criminal defense attorneys at Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. can help you understand the charges against you and develop a strong defense. If you have been accused of an online dating-related crime, don't hesitate to contact our lawyers, who can help.Contact us at (612) 444-5020 or visit our website to get started on a free consultation request form.