9 Investigates dating dangers in Central Florida

FLORIDA — Singles have turned to online dating to find the perfect match, but that has also led to more dating dangers, 9 Investigates learned.

According to a recent study, 15 percent of Americans said they have tried online dating.

Sites like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Bumble and Grinder have become increasingly popular, but also increasingly dangerous.

Adam Hilarie had no reason in August to suspect that his online date with a pretty girl would cost him his life.

Auburndale police said Hailey Bustos, 18, went bowling with Hilarie after they met on Plenty of Fish. The next day, police said she led three men to his house to rob, shoot and kill him.

"It's pointless to have that in your heart, to want to be violent and kill someone else. I just don't get it.  I don't understand how people could even want to be like that,” said Hilarie’s brother, Angel Cruz.

A 19-year-old college student driving his father’s Porche in Orange County in August said he picked up Lee Harris, who he he met on the “Meet Me” app. While he waited for Harris to get into his car, another man carjacked the student with a gun, Orlando police said.

“(The) best practice not to date online? Um, you know what? I am not totally against it. I know lots of couples who have meet online, and things have worked out. I would just say be a little bit wiser when you do so. You always want to screen,” said Lyris Steuber, a mental health counselor.

Steuber suggested that dates should always meet in a public place, don’t reveal too much about themselves, like where they live, and use the three-date rule. Go out at least three times in public before being alone with someone.