Swipe Right: How safe is the dating app Tinder?

Posted at 2:31 AM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-12 10:43:15-04

It’s an app designed for singles to meet. The popular app ‘Tinder’ boasts 26 million matches a day in 196 countries.

And everyday folks are logging in looking for love.

But a 20-year-old sorority girl from Kansas University found anything but that ‘happy ending’ after finding an online match in 30-year-old Shane Allen.

According to court documents, on the afternoon of April 12th Allen picked up the student - who police are keeping anonymous - from her sorority house. Investigators say he then held her hostage for the next six days, beating her and threatening to kill her.

That story scares several Buffalo State students and only confirms their sneaking suspicions about the dangers of online dating.

“I think Tinder is really dangerous and that it should actually be taken off the market because there are a lot of dangerous cases going around that you hear about," Buffalo State sophomore Barak Benyehuda tells 7 Eyewitness News.

But a new statistics from the Pew Research Center shows online dating has actually grown in popularity among user of all ages. Since 2013, the number of 18 to 24-year-olds online dating has nearly tripled. For those 55 to 64, the number has doubled to 12 percent.

So what can you do to stay safe while swiping for love?

Many online dating sites including e-Harmony, Match.com and Tinder list tips in the user safety column of their sites.

Common advice among all sites? Keep your financial information private. Also, don’t share personal information such as address or full name. It is important to remember to block and report spammers or anyone who makes you uncomfortable and if you decide you want to meet the person do your research on them and meet them in a public place.

But for many we spoke to, by-passing technology and finding love the old fashion way – in person - seems to be the way to go.

“At the end of the day something social media offers is quick access but when it’s person to person, it’s that connection,” Shareef Ali said.