Dating application Bumble said it was “devastated” to learn of the murder of Shraddha Walkar, allegedly by her live-in partner Aaftab Poonawala. According to reports, the 28-year-old accused and the victim met on the dating platform and have been in a relationship since 2018.
Bumble stated that it was “devastated to hear about this unspeakable crime” and that it will “remain available” for police whenever they are needed. The Delhi Police team investigating the case has also stated that it will also contact the dating app through which Walkar and Poonawala met.
“Everyone at Bumble is devastated to hear about this unspeakable crime, and our hearts are with Shraddha Walker’s family and loved ones,” a Bumble spokesperson was quoted as saying, adding, “We will continue to follow closely and remain available to law enforcement should they request our support. The safety and wellbeing of our members is our top priority and we have a dedicated global team serving their needs.”
According to reports, police wanted to contact Bumble in order to learn more about Poonawala’s profile on the dating app. Authorities further informed that the call centre employee began dating another woman he met on the app about 20 days after killing Walkar. While Walkar’s body parts remained in the refrigerator, he continued to invite other women into his home.
The case has ignited conversations around dating apps and the safety of people looking for love and partnerships online. News18 takes a look:
From ‘Tinder Swindler’ to Murder, Many Horrific Cases
Various cases related to thievery, murder and sexual harassment in cases of people who have met through dating apps have often made headlines.
A case that made headlines in February this year saw Odisha police successful in their attempts to apprehend notorious Ramesh Kumar Swain just days after the infamous Israeli-born con artist Simon Hayut aka ‘Tinder Swindler’ was exposed in a Netflix documentary. The 66-year-old man, dubbed India’s “Tinder Swindler,” is said to have cheated and married 27 women from ten different states.
Swain, according to the Hindustan Times, would target divorced women over 40 who have family issues. Swain used various matrimonial platforms like Shaadi.com, Jeevansathi.com, and others in the past few years to find his targets, ranging from Supreme Court lawyers to chartered accountants, government officials to school teachers.
Posing to to be younger than he was, Swain faked a government job and more to attract women. “Though he looked more than 60 in real life, his victims ignored it while considering his government job. Swain took full advantage of the women’s helplessness and laid elaborate traps,” Bhubaneswar deputy commissioner of police Umashankar Dash told HT, adding, “though we are yet to know how much money he made out of the victims, initial assessments say he collected ₹2-10 lakh from his victims. His motive was marry for money.”
In another case, Dushyant Sharma, was allegedly kidnapped and killed by a girl – his match on a dating app Tinder – from Jaipur, a report by DNA states. The woman had dumped Sharma’s body in a suitcase on the Delhi-Jaipur highway after demanding Rs 3 lakh in ransom.
In another case that emerged last year, Noida Police arrested two people for allegedly targeting and robbing people on a dating app.
The accused — Deepanshu Chaudhary alias Deepu and Amit Singh — were apprehended after a brief encounter. According to police, they were involved in a number of chain snatching and looting incidents. The accused would befriend unsuspecting victims on the dating app Blued. They would talk to the victims for a few days before asking them to meet them somewhere. Once the victim arrived, the accused would assault and rob them of their money, police said.
What Can One Do to Stay Safe While Dating Online?
Setting Up Your Profile
Experts recommend a few precautions when creating an online dating profile. While using real photos of yourself is recommended, choose ones that do not reveal personal information such as your address or employer. You can use photos from trips or landmarks, but not personal information. It’s important to remember that your photos can be used to find your social media profile.
While using your real name is acceptable, never reveal your full name on a dating profile.
When Switching to a Different Messaging App
According to HT Tech, tying one’s Instagram or social media account to one’s dating profile “gives away too much potentially usable information about you.” A Kaspersky report states that even if you have already configured Instagram for privacy and security, tying your accounts together poses more risk than reward.
The report also advises against providing your phone number and sticking to the app’s message platform until you are confident that you can trust the person you are chatting with. When you switch to another messaging app, you should configure it to keep your private information secure.
When speaking with someone, one should be cautious because ‘crooks’ frequently establish trust before demanding money (immediately) or information.
Crooks may also try to steal some of your personal information, so be cautious if your match asks you to install an app on your phone or visit a specific website.
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