In hopes they won’t be scammed while attempting to online date, like many others have, officials from the Hudson Valley are warning local residents.

Internet dating scams are on the rise as online dating continues to increase in popularity. Officials believe that the popularity mixed with scammer’s ability to be anonymous has lead to the increase in scammers.

According to the Ulster County District Attorney’s Division of Consumer Affairs. Consumers can minimize the risk by following a few simple rules:

• Use a reputable dating site which requires the use of a credit card. This is safer than a free site or chat room;
• Beware of emails that don’t seem to follow earlier conversations or contradict things previously said. Your “date” could be using a script copied from a previous target;
• Steer clear of any “date” that asks you to send money;
• Do not give out personal/financial information such as home address, phone number, bank account or credit card number;
• Do not deposit a check or money order from your “date” in your bank account, especially if they request you forward a portion of the money. If (when) the check bounces you will be responsible to the bank for the money you forwarded;
• Ask for more than one photograph. It is difficult for a scammer to fake more than one. If you sense discomfort or vagueness on the other end, be suspicious;
• Follow your instincts and ask questions. If something feels wrong, it probably is. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

If you encounter any of the aforementioned red flags, it may be wise to discontinue the communication. Consumer Affairs can be reached at 340-3260.