The Ulster County District Attorney's Office shared a few tips to help people minimize the possibility of internet dating scams. If you have tried online dating before, I am sure you probably have a few more things to look out for. If you do, feel free to reach out and we can add the tips to this list.

According to a press release, (and my online dating experience) here are a few of  suggestions of what to keep in mind while trying to meet someone:

  • Please make use of a reputable dating site, not just a chat room or a free dating site. There is also the opposite of this, just because you pay a monthly fee, doesn't mean that the people on the site have been vetted.
  • Beware of people who are sending emails that are not seeming to follow any of your previous conversations. Or if they keep saying something to the effect of "Didn't we all ready talk about that?" I remember "chatting" with someone who kept saying to me when I would ask him questions "But we went over that already."  Yeah, at first I thought maybe I missed it, but then I was, like nah.
  • Do Not go out on a date, with anyone, who asks you for money, or for you to send them money in advance. "Love Don't Cost a Thing."  It is a Nick Cannon movie and a Jennifer Lopez song, for a reason.
  • Do not give out any of your personal information. This includes your home address, phone numbers, etc. While it could seem to you like no big deal, wait until you get further along in an in person relationship before you share that info. Also, avoid giving out your work info. Should things turn too stalker-ish, you will also get the creeps at work as well.
  • Do you only see one photograph on their profile? Feel free to ask for more photos. If this is a 'fake' person they won't be able to give you a second or third photo. If you can, try to do a "Reverse Image Search" on Google or another popular search engine. Yes, it can happen, someone can 'steal or borrow' a photo from an Instagram, Flickr, or Facebook account and use it as their own. Is that person behind the photo, really the person you are 'chatting' with?  I know, because this happened to me. The person who said he lived in Northern Jersey, might have physically been there, but he was sending me pictures for someone who lived in England. Yep, thank you reverse image search. Yes, I reported them on a paid dating site.
  • Don't be afraid to 'go with your gut'. If something about the whole situation just seems 'off', it probably is.
  • When you do go out on the first "in-person" date or meet-up, make sure to tell someone. Give that friend a little info, just in case.

Remember, the last item is probably the most important. If it just seems weird or wrong, it probably is.

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