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Robberies linked to dating apps in South Fulton, police provide safety tips

Police said people are being targeted on social media dating platforms, particularly Grindr, which is used primarily by gay men.

SOUTH FULTON, Ga. — Sources such as match.com report now is the most popular time of the year for people to be swiping right on dating apps, but that swipe could send you towards danger.

City of South Fulton Police is investigating a string of armed robberies with the victim and suspect meeting on dating apps. Police said people are being targeted on social media dating platforms, particularly Grindr, which is used primarily by gay men. Some other popular dating apps, such as Tinder, are being used to target victims. 

Turns out love isn't the only thing in the air in the City of South Fulton.

“This side of town, that’s the type of stuff going on," one South Fulton resident told 11Alive.

“The individuals are being solicited, and they’re meeting at a location. At that time is when the subject produces a handgun, and a robbery takes place," South Fulton Police Capt. Jimmy Wyche added.

He said almost a dozen people got a gun pointed at them instead of what they thought would be a date along Old National Highway. 

“Be mindful of the location you’re headed to. Be mindful of the time of day," Wyche said. "If you’re meeting someone you’ve never met before, it would be a great idea to meet somewhere public, somewhere well-lit so you can ensure your safety, and that there are other individuals around.”

Police note you can look for specific red flags when meeting someone from a dating app.

“It’s more so of urgency trying to get you to come to their location," Wyche said. "If you try to choose a separate location, they keep on cancelling on you, and say, ‘No, come meet me here,’ I would see that as a red flag.”

Also, check out your potential match before you go on your date. 

“Notify family and friends before you go out, so they’ll know where you are. We have trackers on our phones and locations you can give to your friends and things of that nature, so someone else will know where you are. Don’t just go out blindly," Wyche said. 

He also advised people to ask lots of questions as they're getting to know someone on a dating app and ask to video chat before agreeing to an in-person meeting. 

“For one, take it slow because you’ve never met this individual before. If they have other social media platforms, ask about family history, where they’re from, just the normal generic questions you would ask anyone you would meet," Wyche added. 

As another South Fulton resident told us, "You just don’t know what’s behind that door. It could be a catfish."

South Fulton Police are following up on several leads.

A $2,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information on the case can submit a tip anonymously to the Crime Stoppers Atlanta tip line at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or online at www.StopCrimeAtl.org. 

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