Police say to use 'common sense' in online dating
SASKATOON -- The next time you try your luck in love online, you may want to stop and consider your choices.
“It's very common these days, so being such a common thing we want people to use common sense,” Saskatoon Police Service spokesperson Julie Clark said.
Online dating platforms such as Tinder, Bumble and Match.com are but a few options for people to meet new individuals across the city. As their popularity has continued to build over the last decade, safety has become a concern for Saskatoon police following an alleged sexual assault last week.
Kyle Norman, 36, is accused of holding a 19-year-old man against his will in a Saskatoon home for three days. The two allegedly met through a dating app. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Police say an incident like that is rare and the Saskatoon Sexual Assault and Information Centre says the majority of people are assaulted by someone they know.
“There are a lot of safety methods you can use that apply to many parts of life such as ensuring that you meet in a public place, let people know where you're going,” said Clark. “Before that first date when you're chatting online, maybe don't give up all that personal information right away. If you do want to meet that person face to face, maybe have a phone call or a video chat beforehand just to know for sure what you're getting in to.”
Clark says to be wary of what the person is truly after, from bad grammar to asking for financial information, several factors can indicate a potential romance scam. Saskatoon police say if you do happen to meet online before going out on that date, let a family member know where you’re going. Unlike dating apps, speed-dating services in Saskatoon require singles to keep information to themselves.
“We take safety pretty seriously, so we have two main guidelines when you come to speed dating,” said Amy Rederburg, founder of the Do Sask Saskatoon Speed Dating service. “Number one is we don't talk about your profession that's the first big rule. The second one is we don't talk about where you live. Those two things are off the table.”
Lianne Tregobov, a matchmaker and owner of Camelot Introductions for more than 25 years, has worked with clients in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Tregobov says she has seen her fair share of horrific events to happen to people before online dating began a larger following.
“You never know who you’re meeting, you’re meeting strangers,” said Tregobov. “We’ve all grown up and we’ve been taught to be wary of strangers, and then all of a sudden people are trusting whatever is told to them and they leave themselves in a potentially vulnerable and dangerous situation. As a matchmaker I meet each person, vet their profile and do a criminal background check before I confirm the potential for a match.”