NEWS

Man Who Thought He Was Meeting An Online Date Robbed And Assaulted

Three men have been arrested following the incident.

11/09/2017 11:31 AM AEST | Updated 11/09/2017 3:25 PM AEST

A 23-year-old man who believed he was meeting a woman from an online dating application was robbed and assaulted by a group of men on Sunday morning, NSW Police allege.

As the man approached a residential address in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, he was reportedly chased by three men, one of whom assaulted him and demanded his wallet.

Two men -- aged 20 and 18 -- and a teenager, 17, were arrested by police at North Bondi on Sunday morning following the ordeal.

The 18-year-old has been charged with robbery and granted conditional bail to appear at Waverley Local Court in October, while the 20-year-old and 17-year-old were both released pending further inquiries.

It's not the first time that online dating applications have been used by criminals -- and it's unlikely to be the last -- with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission revealing that dating and romance scams had cost Australians nearly $25.5 million.

Getty Images/iStockphoto
Online dating and romance scams cost Aussies nearly $25.5 million.

Earlier this year, four teenagers were arrested for allegedly threatening and blackmailing victims they met through online dating sites.

Prior to the arrests, incidents had been reported to the AIDS Action Council of gay men in Canberra being targeted on dating and hook-up apps, including Grindr.

Safety Tips For Online Dating

In the wake of Sunday's incident, police have issued the following tips on how people using online dating sites and applications can protect themselves when meeting people:

• Do not send a picture of yourself to someone you don't know and never place a full profile and picture anywhere on the internet;

• Never give out personal information including your name, home address, phone number, private email address, details of where you work or recreational activities;

• Do not activate your webcam to anyone you don't know personally;

• Use dating, chat room or other meeting sites that have established vetting protocols to verify its members;

• Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone you have only chatted with on the internet. If you do decide to meet a person, always take a friend and ensure the meeting is in a public place;

• Consider disabling the GPS function on application settings as this lets people know where you are located;

• Never give out your passwords or financial details; and,

• If you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or in danger then discontinue the meeting, contact police or in an emergency situation call Triple Zero (000).

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