Online Dating Dangers

ONLINE DATING

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IOWA-A 21-year-old Iowa man is facing charges of kidnapping, sexual abuse and attempted murder.
The Cedar Rapids Police Department says Bryan Roche of Marion, met a girl online and kept her on Sunday night for hours, sexually assaulting and stabbing her.

She was left with life-threatening injures in a stairwell and is currently in the hospital.
It’s a case of the dangers of online dating.

Mandi Wheeler is in a new relationship, and it started in a very 21st century kind of way.

“On a website called “Meet me”,” she said.

She’s been seeing her current boyfriend for about two months, but she’s no stranger to “online dating.”

“I have always been the type of person who goes on-line for just about anything you can think of, so just interacting with people online is like 2nd nature to me,” said Wheeler.

But Wheeler understands she can’t get to know a person just through their online profile.
That’s why she is taking precautions.

“We started talking on the phone more often and we also Skyped so I was able to physically see him over a camera rather than having to make a trip down there to meet some complete stranger I’ve only seen in pictures,” said Wheeler.

But before you look online for love,  just remember the web is full of people who are not exactly who they say they are.

“You could think you are talking to a 20-year-old hot mama and it could be a pretty twisted individual out there whether it’s male, female, whatever you don’t know,” said Captain Mike McKelvey with the Mason City Police Department.

Law enforcement leaders suggest meeting in public places and doing a little research on who the person is. They also say to let friends know where you are and to not reveal too much personal information.

“Be careful what you give out at first until you build up that trust and confidence to make sure who they are is actually who they are,” said McKelvey.

But the bottom line comes down to trusting your instincts.

“I know people can get themselves into those types of situations, but if you just take it super, super slow and don’t really say..Yeah I’ll meet you here..Anything like that can happen, even if you go to the bar and meet someone,” said Wheeler.

Captain McKelvey also suggests to be cautious of the pictures you post online, because some are embedded with your location. That makes it easy for the wrong person to find out where you live.

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