You meet a girl on a dating website. She seems nice on the first date so you decide to ask her out again. This time things went terribly wrong as she brought three thugs to rob you. Such is the set of circumstances for Adam Hilarie, who in addition to being robbed was also murdered during the robbery. The woman that Mr. Hilarie met on a dating app had always intended to set him up and rob him. In fact, after their first date, she texted him stating that she wanted to meet up with him again. It was at this point that she showed up to his home with her co-defendants. They robbed him and according to the police report “Hilarie was begging for his life, he was not putting up any kind of fight, and was telling them that he had a 5-year-old daughter.”
Tinder, match.com, and Plenty of Fish. All fairly mainstream online dating websites and apps. And all, at least according to their marketing material, very successful at making a match. Success might be measure differently on Tinder than on Christian Mingle, but that’s beside the point. BUT, how do you know that the person you are speaking with, texting, or meeting is truly looking for that special someone. The reality is that in today’s online dating atmosphere people truly need to protect themselves, and unlike in past generations that requires more than a pack of Trojans.
So what should you do to protect yourself?
- Well, I suppose the easiest thing is to google the person that you are meeting up with. See if there is any information on them and if so, does the information match the info you are seeing on their profile.
- Check social media. Everyone seems to at least have a Facebook account these days. Again, see if the information in their dating profile matches up to their social media account. Check to see if you have any mutual friends.
- Before inviting them back to your place for dinner or post-date romance, you may consider running a background check. In Florida this can be done at on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website and it costs $24.00. There are also a number of private companies that can do national checks for a fee.
- It may seem like common sense, but don’t give out your address when you are first meeting the person. Meet at a public place or restaurant.
As an attorney, I also think that the companies offering these dating services need to do a better job of protecting their clients. I think that the lack of verification could subject them to liability in the event they knew or should have known of an individual’s prior violent criminal history. The clients enrolling the various website should have to go through some verification process in order to prove they are who they say they are. Verify accounts through email or other social media.
Be careful out there in the online dating world. Meeting someone online has become such a part of life as we know it, but everyone must make sure that they are protected.