Police have reported a drastic rise in the number of alleged crimes involving the use of dating apps.
The number of alleged crimes reported involving the dating apps Tinder and Grindr has increased over sevenfold in two years.
The reports, obtained by the Press Association, included allegations of rape, grooming and attempted murder.
Some have suggested that the figures are only “the tip of the iceberg” as some crimes go unreported.
In 2013 there were 55 reports of crimes in England and Wales mentioning Grindr or Tinder, but that figure rose to 204 in 2014 and 412 up to October 2015.
There were 135 alleged crimes mentioning Grindr in 2015 compared to just 34 in 2013.
Out of the total number of reported crimes, violent and sexual crimes were the most common.
There were 253 reports of violence and 152 allegations of sexual crimes, which included grooming and rape.
In those crimes, the apps had been mentioned but were not necessarily used directly by the criminal.
And the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead on violence and public protection, Deputy Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Andy Cooke, said: “The rising popularity of online dating apps and websites has contributed to an increase in the number of recorded crimes. We strongly encourage users to report offences and seek support if they become a victim of any type of crime.
“I would urge those who use online dating apps to be as security conscious as possible and not to share personal data with anyone until they are sure about those they are communicating with.
“Similarly, individuals should stop all communication with anyone who attempts to pressurise them into something they are not comfortable with.”
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “The steep rises in sexual and violent offences are a worrying trend that seems likely to continue.
“Closeted gay and bisexual men who use Grindr may be especially vulnerable to targeting because criminals know they will be less likely to report crimes to the police. I suspect these figures are just the tip of the iceberg.”
A spokesman from LGBT rights organisation Stonewall said the figures were “shocking”.
Two men were jailed last year after attempting to blackmail a married man they found on hook-up app Grindr.
Gloucester-based Daniel Edwards and Kristofer Wagner saved ‘incriminating’ messages they received from a man using the gay app – and threatened to forward them to his wife unless he paid them.
Also in 2015, PinkNews reported on a gang of four men who mugged two people after posing as a potential date on Grindr.
The police believe that the gang are using the dating app to arrange encounters with the aim of robbing their victims.