Police in Pretoria have warned of an increase in reported incidents of crimes related to internet dating.
Often victims meet their online dates at private locations where they are then assaulted, robbed of their goods such as cell phones and forced to relinquish their bank cards.
Sunnyside police spokesperson, Daniel Mavimbela, says there are obvious dangers of sharing personal details online as there’s a syndicate operating in their area.
“It’s a person searching for relationships online be it sexual or otherwise. Once they allude to certain spaces like your flats, subsequently what happens is that a group of about three to five men will emerge from that particular flat and start robbing the victim. For as long as anyone interacts with strangers online they need to exercise caution,” adds Mavimbela.
A recent victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, says he decided to meet his potential date after 11 days of chatting online.
When the victim arrived at the date’s apartment he found himself surrounded by a group of men who were demanding R50 000.
He says this was his worst mistake.
“They started forcing my clothes off and I still disagreed and said I don’t [want] to take off my clothes then I stopped fighting it because they were now hitting me. I remained in my underwear and one of the guys started taking pictures saying we want to blackmail you. So, tell us how much you want to give us to let you go. I did feel like my life was in danger because one of them was holding a knife,” says the victim.
The victim was further assaulted as the criminals tried to get his banking card and pin.