Social Network Crime Scheme Turns Dates Into Armed Robbery

Eric Lieberman | Deputy Editor

Police in Sacramento, Calif., are warning people of a modern day burglary scheme, in which men become victims after scheduling to meet women through online social networking sites.

There have been at least 10 incidents throughout the area in recent weeks where victims try to set up dates with a female through a social forum, and then become targets of armed robbery.

The perpetrators provide the unsuspecting targets with a predetermined time and location to meet, the Sacramento Police Department announced in a press release Friday.

When the victim arrives at the meeting point, they are confronted by several suspects, usually armed with guns. In some of the cases, the victims have been physically assaulted.

Sacramento police are advising people that social networking sites can be a dangerous medium to try and connect with people because it’s very easy to pretend to be someone else. (There is a whole show based on this premise, colloquially called “catfishing“).

“While it is a great tool in keeping in touch with family and friends there are inherent dangers associated with using these platforms,” the official press release reads.

The police provide a number of helpful tips if people feel the need to meet with strangers, including not going alone, meeting in a public place during daylight, and always notifying someone else of where the meeting is taking place.

Law enforcement also urges people to not share personal information online, whether through profiles on social networking sites, or through direct communication.

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