Study: Tampa among most dangerous for online dating

Florida ranked most dangerous for online dating and how to safely date online

TAMPA, Fla. -- There’s some potentially bad news for all of your digital daters out there. A brand-new survey finds Florida is one of the most dangerous places for online hookups.

SafeWise and HighspeedInternet.com say of 56 cities surveyed, Miami (46), Jacksonville (39), Orlando (53) and Tampa (36) all ranked among the most dangerous. 

“We’ve seen several cases in recent history where somebody just wasn't careful enough,” said Tampa Police Department spokesman Steve Hegarty.

In fact, Tampa police say just this past weekend a 22-year old woman using Tinder claims to have been raped by a guy at his apartment in South Tampa.

Cops say always meet in a public place first. Also do some digital digging on the person you're hooking up with.

“And if they're contacting you or sending you a text message and change the number or something along those lines, anything to get you pause, you're free to back out,” said Hegarty.

SafeWise used crime stats from the FBI, and sexually transmitted disease numbers from the CDC to reach its ranking. 

The results might explain, in part, why a growing number of people are turning to social event coordinators and even matchmakers to screen people before any face-to-face introductions are made.

“There are so many people who move here, it's hard to get everyone's story. So I think it's easier for people to lie online,” said Andrew Machota, who operates New Town Connections in the Bay Area.

People pay to join New Town Connections and then attend pre-arranged get-togethers. 

“Between a paid membership and the vetting process, that's how we maintain our quality in the group,” said Machota.

“And if they haven't been successful on their own, why not come to a professional to get the help?” said Dr. Nancy Wall, who owns Tampa Bay Matchmakers.

Wall arranges one-on-one dates, meeting and screening people before her clients ever do. 

“You know, the best opportunity would be a friend meeting somebody, and saying, "I just met the perfect person for you." So, that's what I am,” said Wall.

The same survey found the safest city for online dating was San Antonio. The most dangerous? Buffalo, New York.

But any spot can get dangerous fast say officials, if you're not careful.

Tampa police say it’s also a good idea to let someone close to you know about your plans before you head out to meet someone for the first time.

If you want to see the full results of the survey, click here.

 

 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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