“Come back a step and take it on a face-to-face basis when you meet in public for the first time.” Twice as many people now report being raped by someone they met through online dating than those who are attacked by a bogus taxi driver.
Mr Sutton warned: “You can’t see a stranger rapist coming – they are going to be charming, potentially persuasive.” George Kidd, chief executive of the Online Dating Association, said: “Sexual assault or abuse is never acceptable.
People tended to act in a risqué manner even though they do not know each other “from Adam or Eve”, Mr Sutton said.
He warned: “This pseudo-closeness can happen very, very quickly and we are saying you could be talking to a 14-year-old boy or a 60-year-old woman.
Facebook have taken over the entire social network scene but it is still rarely used for dating because people don’t like to mix their friends with online chat partners before it becomes serious.
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More than nine million Britons have signed up to dating websites and the NCA is launching a campaign to alert them to the dangers and to take precautions.
Serious crimes analysis boss Sean Sutton said: “Part of our campaign is to encourage people to come forward.
“Our message is the police will take them seriously and deal with them sympathetically.” The rise in rape allegations can partially be blamed on online daters swapping sexualised messages that can skew expectations before a meeting.
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Figures from the National Crime Agency (NCA) show that 184 people reported being raped by someone they met via a dating website or mobile phone app in 2014, compared with 33 in 2009.