In Danger Online - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

In Danger Online

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CONWAY -

A 20 year-old Conway woman says she has experienced the dangers of Craigslist first hand.

A Malvern man who claimed to operate his own business has been arrested.

This situation could have ended much, much worse for this young woman.

The case serves as a good warning for those who put too much trust in the people they meet online.

Conway police say 31 year-old Loyton Francis of Malvern assaulted a woman after she responded to his Craigslist ad.

According to police, Francis called himself "Jake Lancaster" and claimed he owned an escort service.

The woman responded and was picked up for what she thought would be dinner and a job interview.

Police say rather than go to a restaurant, Francis took her to a field and produced two weapons…ordering her to undress.

The victim managed to escape unharmed.

The anonymity that the Internet provides makes it very easy to be deceived by dangerous people.

While meeting a person face-to-face is a recommended way to avoid getting scammed in a financial transaction, meeting people face to face for a date or dinner is a riskier proposition.

The victim in this case made several mistakes.

If you want to meet a stranger alone, do it someplace public and someplace familiar to you.

Have a friend stationed nearby if possible.

Never get into a stranger's car.

And don't agree to dinner as part of a job interview.

In fact, applying for a job with someone who says he operates an escort service carries an inherent element of risk.

As for Loyton Francis, he is in federal custody.  This incident violates conditions of his federal pretrial release for some other trouble.  

Conway police ask that you call if you have any other information about Francis or his alias, Jake Lancaster.

Air date:  Feb. 26th, 2013