Internet warning after men fall victim to social site lure

By Andrew Koubaridis

A woman and her partner used the internet to lure men over and rob them. Photo / Thinkstock
A woman and her partner used the internet to lure men over and rob them. Photo / Thinkstock

Two Auckland men were allegedly lured into a house by a woman they met over the internet - and then threatened and robbed by the woman and her boyfriend.

The separate incidents occurred late last month and have sparked renewed calls from police and internet safety experts to be aware of the dangers of meeting strangers.

Johnny Hekura Dickson, 26, and Surrender Dyndar Patricia Tongariro, 23, have been jointly charged with aggravated robbery and kidnapping. They have been bailed to appear again on January 18.

In the latest case, two Indian men met a woman on the Tagged social networking site and after an initial meeting went back to what they believed was her house.

Police allege when they arrived at the house the boyfriend would appear and force them to hand over their bank cards and pin numbers and would then allegedly use the information to clear money from their accounts.

It is understood the men were threatened with a knife but were not hurt during the incidents. It is believed that Indian males were targeted.

Counties Manukau police Detective Sergeant Eddie Sutherland said it was understood social media was a popular way to communicate but urged people to be vigilant because cases of people being lured into dangerous situations were becoming more frequent. "The public need to remember once information is disclosed via online sites it's there forever. Meeting up with individuals you may have met through the internet could put you in danger.

"Always meet in a well-populated public place and make sure someone is aware of your movements."

Netsafe executive director Martin Cocker said the web allowed people to cast a wide net for potential victims and that also allowed people to deceive for long periods.

"Obviously at the point someone goes to meet someone or transact money or something like that, that is the point they need to stop and think about what the dangers might be."

Mr Cocker said criminals often had a number of "marks" on the go. "They make each one feel as if they are in a one-to-one relationship but they are after a large number of targets. They are prepared to invest in that over a long period of time."

internet dating meant people were becoming comfortable meeting others online which was both positive and negative, he said.

The South Auckland case is the latest in a series of social media scares.

This year Auckland woman Natalia Burgess was exposed for taking another woman's Facebook account and pretending to be her in order to meet young men. She assumed a number of identities.

- NZ Herald

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