Whitehorse RCMP is investigating multiple files involving victims targeted from online dating profiles such as Tinder or other similar online platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Investigators believe there may be more victims in Whitehorse who are fearful to report similar incidents and hope these other victims are willing to come forward.
Current files under investigation include allegations of theft, threats against the victims and their families, and the use of violence, occurring after victims have met in person with people they connected with through dating apps or online marketplaces. Anyone who has been targeted by an offence like this or who has information about these types of offences is encouraged to contact police.
If you are going to meet someone in person after meeting on the Internet, you are encouraged to take safety precautions such as:
- Meet and stay in a public place;
- Do a reverse image Google search for photos from dating profiles or items for sale – a quick and easy way to see if a photo has been copied from the internet;
- Make a safety plan, which can include sharing details with a trusted friend or family member – the name of the person you are meeting, the website or app you met them on, where you are going, when you expect to be home. Plan to check in with that person afterwards as well;
- Allow friends and family to use tracking applications on your phone to ensure your whereabouts are known at all times;
- Go with your gut – if it's telling you to leave or end the date or conversation, don't hesitate to do so!
For dates in particular, stay sober when you meet someone for the first time and don't leave your drink unattended.
Anyone who has been a victim of an offence like this, or is aware of other victims, is encouraged to contact Whitehorse RCMP at 867-667-5551. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers via phone at 867-667-6715 or online at www.crimestoppersyukon.ca.