The dark side of meeting people online

a62640bb938322fbcd97ebae61900370

Police are searching for a suspect they think may have murdered a Queens teacher after they met online.
 
David Rangel, 53, was found choked to death and shoved under his couch in his Jackson Heights apartment Sunday, officials said.

A police spokesman said cops responded to a 911 call, after a friend checking on him found the door unlocked and ajar.

Police found Rangel with trauma to his head and blood on the floor and the walls.

Councilman Daniel Dromm asked the NYPD to investigate the murder as a hate crime.

“The horrific crime committed against David Rangel, an openly gay public school teacher who lived in one of the city’s most tolerant communities, is deeply distressing,” Dromm said.

Dromm spokesman Alex Florez said Rangel appears to have met someone online. The councilman’s concern is that someone may have targeted him because he is openly gay, and that this perhaps led into a potential bias-motivated murder.

“Something obviously went terribly wrong there,” Florez said.

Rangel taught seventh- and eighth-grade Spanish at P.S. 219.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of a well-liked and respected teacher, David Rangel,” the school’s president, Fred Wright, wrote on Twitter yesterday.
 
Meanwhile, the family of a Staten Island woman, Sarai Sierra, is searching for her in Turkey, where she disappeared while traveling this month.
 
They, too, are concerned she may have met someone online. She had planned to meet with strangers she met through Instagram, according to the Daily News.
 
Online safety expert Hemu Nigam said that when people sit behind a computer screen, they may wrongly lower their guard.

“When you’re going online, it’s very much like you’re going down a New York alley,” he said. “You don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know what might pop up … yet when you’re on a computer, you do it without thinking twice.”
 

Use caution behind the computer screen

“If you’re connecting with somebody in the online world, unless you are seeing the whites of their eyes, they should be treated as a stranger to you,” Nigam said.

Instead, he said, when people talk online, they can feel very comfortable, because they are in the comfort of their own home. But people should have the opposite reaction. If something seems off, ask for clarification, he advised.

“I think your first best friend in all of this is Google,” he said. “You can see if the job they’re talking about actually exists. … if your instincts say there’s something wrong, you’ve got to go with it.”

He also suggests a face-to-face chat on the computer or phone. “If the person refuses because they’re giving you examples like, ‘My hair doesn’t look good today, I’m just not feeling well,’ your senses should go up,” he said.

If you do meet someone, perhaps through an online dating website, make sure it is in a public place, and consider having a friend show up two or three tables down or suggesting a group setting.

Danielle Tcholakian contributed reporting.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.