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Omaha Police urge caution after string of robberies and assaults targeting dating app users

Posted at 10:28 PM, Dec 16, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — There are lots of folks out there looking for love.

But these last few weeks dating has gotten dangerous for some in Omaha.

“In the last couple of months, we have seen an increase in dating website robberies. We have evidence that others have occurred but people aren’t coming forward,” said Detective Adam Barcal with Omaha Police Department’s Robbery unit.

These aren’t your usual catfishes and victims in these cases lose out on a lot more than a potential date.

“Victims go to these places and they are physically assaulted, robbed of jewelry and money and other personal items,” said Barcal.

Barcal says some of these encounters have been especially violent, some victims have even sustained significant injuries during the robberies.

And he said it isn’t just one dating app or website where victims are being targeted.

While these robberies might dissuade some from looking for love using dating apps Barcal says there are precautions you can take to keep yourself safe, including some you can take before you agree to go on a date.

“With the profile itself, you can use Google Mirror. You can use their profile pictures and run it through the internet. Usually, if nothing comes back that is a good indicator these are legit profiles,” said Barcal.

Even if the profile is legit the person you are meeting might not have good intentions, and Barcal suggested some dos and don'ts for first dates.

“If you are meeting someone for the first time make sure you are meeting in public. Never have them come over to your place or go over to their place. I would even advocate maybe meeting in a group so you aren’t alone and telling someone where you are,” said Barcal.

At the end of the day, Barcal says sometimes the best defense against these dating robberies and scams is to follow your intuition.

If something doesn’t feel right, then the date isn’t worth the risk.

“All of the victims I have met have this gut feeling. They are like, I don’t know if I should do this or meet this person. So it comes down to that. If you have a gut feeling something is wrong, trust your feelings and trust your instincts,” said Barcal.

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