SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KOLR) — One woman and her group of fellow “predator hunters” are becoming pretty popular on social media.
417 Predator Hunters is a group of adults pretending to be underage on dating apps, hoping to attract other adults who are up to no good.
“Basically we have an online profile,” the group’s founder, who is only being identified as Dani, told Ozarks First reporter Jesse Inman.
“They list the age of 18-19,” she said. “Once somebody makes contact with that profile… that decoy, which is an adult on our team somewhere, discloses that they’re underage.”
Dani says the ages given by these decoy accounts can range from 12 to 15 years old.
If the real adult attempts to set up an in-person meeting with the fake minor, it’ll be Dani and her team they encounter instead.
“We never initiate any kind of meetups,” Dani explained. “We kind of just wait for them to dig holes for themselves essentially.”
The “exposure team”, as Dani calls it, will often stream the meetup on Facebook Live.
“You’ve been talking to two of our decoys,” Dani tells one man during one of the streamed meetups.
She says it doesn’t usually take a very long time for these adults to ask to meet the kids they think they’re talking to. Sometimes, she says, meetings can be requested within hours of connecting online.
Dani isn’t oblivious to the danger she’s putting herself in each time.
“You never know what you’re getting yourself into,” she said during her interview with Inman. “You never know what state of mind this person’s in.”
While she’s been known to confront adults on her own, these days she usually brings a couple of sidekicks, usually armed. All total, 417 Predator Hunters has 9 people on its team.
Ozarks First is currently working to find out how these videos and 417 Predator Hunters’ work can be used in court.