Experts weigh in on online dating dangers when meeting face-to-face

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on September 25, 2013 at 5:58 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 25 at 6:00 PM

Date Goes Wrong

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 (KMOV) –News 4 learns of the dangers behind meeting someone in person following an online setup after a man is accused of assaulting an Alton woman he met online.

The victim in the Alton case started out with a good first step, she agreed to meet her date in a public place at a restaurant on East Broadway.

After that she let her guard down and agreed to ride with the man to a bar.

"Drive yourself. Don’t ride together because you really don't know who that is on the other side of that computer,” said Officer Emily Henja with the Alton Police Department

She got out of her SUV and as she reached back in for her purse, the man sped off. It resulted in a high-speed chase across the Clark Bridge, down Highway 367 and ended with officers calling off pursuit in a north St. Louis neighborhood.

“If you do decide to partake internet dating, we say to protect yourself,” said Officer Henja

Experts say people need to be careful that when you are meeting people through the internet, you don’t necessarily know them.

“If you are looking at online dating sites you might ask and look to see what sorts of protections they are providing.  Are they doing any background checks on people who are posting that they are available to date” said Chris Thetford with the Better Business Bureau.

If the person decides to meet someone face-to-face for a date or a sale, remember to keep the guard up. Although when people do meet, experts say it’s a natural human reaction to let the guard down a little bit.

In this case, the woman lost her purse with $70, her cell phone and some credit cards but she was not hurt. 

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