Dating app robbery: CPD warns of Lawndale robberies targeting dating app users meeting matches in person #nigeria | #nigeriascams | #lovescams

CHICAGO (WLS) — Dating app users looking to find love online may want to proceed with caution while meeting up with a match in person.

The Chicago Police Department issued a community alert Thursday for the Lawndale neighborhood following a recent string of armed robberies stemming from conversations on dating apps.

At least nine incidents have occurred near the intersection of West 18th Street and South Springfield Avenue dating back to March 6, police said. In each incident, someone was robbed after planning to meet someone they met online.

Nearly 70,000 people reported a romance scam last year in the U.S., with more than $1 billion taken from the victims, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

“It’s not a certain person they pray on,” said “It’s Just Lunch” Chicago senior matchmaker Vanessa Sescila.”I have clients at ‘It’s Just Lunch’ from 25 to 80, and I can tell you every day I hear about a different scam.”

In one of the latest incidents on April 12 in Lawndale, a victim agreed to meet someone near West 18th Street and South Springfield Avenue, police said. When the victim arrived, he was actually met by two men who displayed a handgun and tied him up with duct tape. The victim was forced to surrender his banking and credit card info before the offenders ran away.

In some of the nine cases, the victims were battered and suffered minor injuries, police said.

Police have recommended safety tips to keep in mind when meeting someone from online. It is a good practice to meet at a public space with others around, maybe even near a police station.

In the case that a robbery does take place, it is important to remember the characteristics of the offender and to never resist during a robbery or chase the suspect, police said.

“Even if you’re going on dates, always have a buddy system,” Sescila said. “Tell somebody ‘this is who I’m going out with, this is the number.’ Don’t ever go on a first date when you’re not around people. I always say ‘meet at a bar, meet at a restaurant.'”

While it is not clear at this time if the nine robberies were committed by the same offenders, police said they are searching for two to three men believed to be in their 20’s. No arrests have been made at this time.

INTERACTIVE SAFETY TRACKER Track crime and safety in your neighborhood

Click Here For The Original Story

. . . . . . .