(WBNG) — After a woman was allegedly kidnapped while meeting up with someone she met online, 12 News is digging deeper into how dangerous dating apps can be.
26-year-old Amber Garrison met James Smith, a trucker, after speaking with him on a dating website. She claims that he kidnapped her in Pennsylvania, held her captive for six weeks, and she was able to call 911 from a general store in Iowa.
“If there’s anything that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, or it seems suspicious or strange behavior, I think that you should listen to your intuition,” said Captain Kate Newcomb, with the Broome County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities say there are many steps you can take to avoid dangerous situations with someone you do not know.
“You shouldn’t let your location be known. Turn off the setting for location. Do not put too much personal information on a dating app,” said Newcomb.
Some users of dating apps say that situations can get creepy, very quickly.
“I had a two minute conversation with a guy, and he ended up saying he would die for me, and he’d take a bullet for me. I was like, ‘You only know my name and my picture,'” said Charlotte Brosoff, a student at Binghamton University.
Local police encourage users to use the messaging part of dating applications, as giving out your personal phone number can lead to more information exposed. For Brosoff, she took it a step further to keep her social media private.
“I actually created a fake Snapchat for if I found someone semi-interesting,” said Brosoff.
Brosoff says not all dating app experiences can be bad. Her cousin met her future husband on Tinder, and Brosoff says it’s a healthy relationship. For her other cousin though, she hasn’t been as lucky.
“My other cousin, has been led to a separate state kind of thing,” said Brosoff.
If you do find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, authorities encourage you to protect yourself.
“You should politely excuse yourself and leave. If that’s not possible for some reason, then you should immediately telephone somebody,” said Newcomb.