Reported crimes related to online dating have risen dramatically in the last five years.
Exclusive figures for Sky News from UK police forces show that 2,054 offences were recorded between 2011 and 2016.
In 2011, 140 crimes were recorded, by 2016 that had risen to 676 – a 382% increase.
In the same period, the number of sexual crimes reported rose from 14 to 106 and violent attacks were up from 29 to 240.
Becky Crozier suffered panic attacks and depression after being stalked by a man she met online.
After three dates she broke up but despite not revealing where she lived he managed to track her down.
For almost 10 months she was too scared to leave her house.
I’d get at least a text message every minute, if I didn’t reply, and if I’d turn my phone off, he’d ring me, she explained.
It got to the point where he’d come to the town and walk about and see if he could bump into me.
He’d say he wanted to grab me by the throat and put me against the wall. I was just scared that he was going to come to my house and eventually kill me.
Around seven million UK residents are currently registered on dating sites, and it’s estimated one in three relationships in the UK now starts online.
Sky News found crimes involving two of the biggest apps, Tinder and Grindr, have been rising year on year.
Some users told me they’ve now noticed a darker side to dating ranging from an increase in fake profiles to drug-fuelled sex parties.
Online dater Bobu Constantin says he’s now more cautious about which apps he uses: Since I joined Grindr a couple of years ago wasn’t very bad, now it’s very, it’s actually extremely bad he said.
It’s about meeting people but not only dating, it’s about sex and chemsex and drugs, and when drugs are involved and alcohol it ends very, very badly.
Most sites now offer safety tips and while Tinder didn’t respond to Sky News’ request for a comment, Grindr says it doesn’t condone violent or abusive behaviour and works with the authorities and LGBTQ communities to help protect users.
In a statement a spokesperson said: Grindr is committed to creating a safe environment through a system of digital and human screening tools to help its users connect and thrive.
Grindr encourages users to report suspicious and threatening activities. While we are constantly improving upon this process, it is important to remember that Grindr is an open platform.
The National Crime Agency has been monitoring violence connected to online dating and has detected the number of rapes being reported has risen sixfold in five years.
The NCA’s head of national investigative capabilities, Sean Sutton, told Sky News: We know that only about 16% of all stranger rape cases and sexual assaults in general are reported to the police so we know that we are only dealing with the tip of the iceberg of the problem so that’s why we’re keeping a good eye on it.
So how can you stay safe online? Grindr offers tips including telling users to protect their identities, tell a friend where you’re going and who you are meeting and report any attacks or threats to law enforcement.
For Mr Sutton, meeting in public is the most important message.
Over 70% of the stranger rape cases we see are from people going home with their date or taking their date back to their own accommodation on the first date, he said.