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“Love Me Tinder”: Roanoke law enforcement urges online dating safety

Swiping right through dating apps is easy. But when it comes to meeting Mr. or Mrs. right in...
Swiping right through dating apps is easy. But when it comes to meeting Mr. or Mrs. right in person, things could go left.(WJHG/WECP)
Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 1:01 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Valentine’s Day may be over, but the search for true love never stops.

“It’s always best to be safe than sorry,” says Detective Frank Leftwich of the Roanoke City Police Department.

Something true of wearing a seatbelt, packing an umbrella, and jumping into the online dating pool.

“There is an offense called the ‘sweetheart fraud’ where someone will interact with you online and you feel a little bit of a rapport, a little bit at ease, and then they’ll ask you for certain things,” he adds. “A lot of times, persons on the other side prey on feelings or opportunities. You have to be cautious if they are sincere, or if they’re trying to take advantage of you.”

When it comes to matters of the heart online, less is more.

“You always want to make sure that you are prepared before you respond to someone,” explains Detective Leftwich. “Don’t give out any personal information, don’t use your work or your home email. Don’t indicate anything about your last name or anything specific about yourself.”

Detective Leftwich also notes it’s best to take it slow when getting to know someone so you can receive more information and decide if you think their intentions are genuine and would like to meet them in person. If you do, he says it’s best to have multiple safety nets in place.

“Meet this person, he or she, at a location that’s very public. Drive there yourself. Advise others, friends, family, that you’re going to this location at this certain time, and then from there, check in periodically and let them know if things are going well.”

Law enforcement also encourages people to be aware of anyone asking for gift cards or money online.

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