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New dating app aims to protect users from criminals

New dating app aims to protect users from criminals
Posted at 6:37 PM, Aug 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-03 14:56:18-04

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Swiping left and right on dating apps is fun until the person you match with turns out to be a scammer or even have a lengthy criminal record. 

Millions of people are using dating apps now, and it seems there's a new one to download every week.

"But none of them address the big 800 pound gorilla in the room, and that's safety," said Joe Penora, CEO and Founder of The Gatsby Group.

Penora is on a mission to keep people safe in the new-age of dating. His vision started back in the days of MySpace.

"The girl I was dating at that time was complaining that all these creepy guys were messaging her, and I said 'Oh, I'll just come up with a creepy guy filter' and this was back in the early 2000s," said Penora.

He did just that, in the form of Gatsby.

"It's nothing new for the user to learn, they sign up like any other app, they use it just like any other app - swipe left if they don't like the person, swipe right if they do  - and if there's a match they can talk to each other," said Penora, "But all the science behind it is the algorithm we have that analyzes every stitch of data during sign up and compares it to criminal and sex offender databases."

So anyone with a felony or misdemeanor conviction, not just registered sex offenders, is blocked from Gatsby.

"Whether you are smuggling drugs or have DUIs, attempted murders, rapes, anything that is a criminal record we ban them," said Penora.

Penora says it's a relatively simple idea, that could protect women and men from becoming a victim. Right now, there are several thousand users on Gatsby, and that number continues to grow.

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