Police #say use of #online #dating #apps could mean #flirting with #danger

An Omaha man will spend decades behind bars for a string of dating app robberies.

On Tuesday, a judge sentenced 20-year-old Jordan Kellogg to 24-40 years in prison for tricking men on the dating apps Tinder and Plenty of Fish.

Authorities said Kellogg pretended to be a woman and set up dates. When the victims arrived for the dates, polices said, two or three armed men would be waiting to rob them.

Des Moines police told KCCI that online daters should beware the dangerous robbery setup.

“It’s just a new twist on an old tale,” Des Moines police Sgt. Paul Parizek said. “You know, somebody setting you up and then ripping you off.”

Parizek said he sees a lot of online crime and that communicating online can make it easier for people to let their guard down.

“When you are sitting in your living room, I mean, you are calmer,” he said. “You are a little more relaxed. I think it really just kind of takes away a bit of our ‘spidey senses.’”

Iowans who spoke to KCCI said it is hard to picture dating without online applications.

“I think you are more likely to meet somebody on an app than you are to meet somebody at a bar,” Des Moines resident Jack Parisee said.

Parisee said he’s fallen victim to online dating scams before.

“I’ve met up with people before that were not even the same gender that, you know, I was going for,” he said.

Parizek said criminals often hide behind their anonymity.

“It makes it a lot harder for us to investigate and it also makes it a lot easier for you to become a victim,” he said.

Authorities encourages Iowans to meet strangers in public places and to keep their personal information to themselves when communicating with someone they’ve never met in person.

“When it comes to the online dating things, you know, if you are going to do that, maybe you should set up a double date,” Parizek said. “You know, the buddy system always works.”