Online dating scams on the rise. Image: Adobe Stock

Dating app syndicates: SA’s new danger?

Dating app syndicates: could they be SA’s new danger, according to information by Minister Bheki Cele released in September?


Online dating scams on the rise. Image: Adobe Stock

News released by Minister Bheki Cele during a press release has focused attention on kidnapping syndicates in South Africa. Kidnapping is a serious crime, and might be on the rise as reported by The South African website in September.

According to the information, these syndicates use dating apps to snare their victims.

Here’s what to know about dating app scams, and how dangerous they could turn out to be.

Minister Bheki Cele warns of ‘dating app’ syndicates

According to a media briefing, Minister Bheki Cele has warned South Africans about kidnapping syndicates active in Southern Africa.

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This comes after after recent successful arrests by SAPS, whereby a syndicate was reportedly found to be linked to several dating-app kidnappings.

Gauteng police are said to have rescued an 18-year old student from a kidnapping syndicate in September. The syndicate had been allegedly linked to more than 50 kidnappings so far.

ALSO READ: Crime stats: Gauteng leads in sharp increase of kidnapping cases in SA

Victims had been found “through a popular dating app”, according to Cele during the briefing.

The same media briefing also says that the kidnappings pulled off via the dating app were all linked to later ransom demands.

Cele: Kidnapping crimes on the increase

Crime statistics from 2022 released by Minister Bheki Cele and SAPS showed a sharp rise in kidnapping crimes for South Africa.

According to Britannica, kidnapping is defined as the “unlawful taking of a person by force or fraud.”

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Sometimes victims can be lured under false pretences, such as a request on a dating app or sale from online classifieds.

Safe online dating

According to SAPS Crime Prevention, always make sure that websites are secure.

Don’t share personal information with others, and take care when meeting up with anyone from the internet even when you appear to know them.

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If you are going to meet up with someone from online, don’t go alone, and avoid meeting in secluded areas (or at someone’s home).

Any unwanted contact means that you can apply for a protection order, according to South African law.