NEW HAVEN - Police have seen a rise lately in online dating and internet purchase-related crimes.
They are now warning everyone to be extremely careful before meeting these people in person.
Several police departments including New Haven have a sign posted outside to let people know they can use their headquarters to do an internet purchase exchange. Police advise everyone to do this during the day, so you will not be alone.
Officer David Hartman with the New Haven Police Department said they have received up to eight reported crimes in the last month.
"The unfortunate side is so many of these type of crimes are not being reported either because the victim is embarrassed or the victim may in the case of exchanged goods for money," said Officer Hartman.
These crimes often result in armed robberies where police said the victims who are mainly men have been assaulted.
Police said there was a recent incident where someone was instructed to walk up a dark driveway in the middle of the night until it took a turn for the worse.
"He was not met by the love of his life by any stretch of an imagination. He was met by two guys with guns who robbed him of his wallet, his cell phone, took his keys and then took his car," added Officer Hartman.
Police have these tips for you if you use a dating app or a site:
• Be responsible for your own rides.
• Stay sober.
• Download an app such as RAVE Guardian which is an emergency notification system.
• If you’re uncomfortable, leave immediately.
As for internet purchase exchanges, you are advised to save any photos for evidence, tell someone where you will be and never carry a large amount of cash.
"I think people are so in tune now to everything being available online. Dating should not be an Amazon purchase," added Officer Hartman.
Police said if you are a victim of any of those crimes, you are to immediately report it.
Officer Hartman wrote a poem to get his safety message across:
BEWARE THE ONLINE DATE
A composition by Officer David Hartman
All over the world, people look to find love
In coffee shops, bars and such places thereof
The new trend, however – no more than a click
On a cellphone or device with a memory stick
The love you may seek just might come with a price
From a criminal element well-seasoned in vice
Should you trust a match-maker from the “the cloud” up above
Or rely on tradition to truly find love?
Your excitement at romance will be quickly undone
When Brenda is really a dude with a gun
Be cautious, warn cops, when looking for fun
So the criminals, you won’t have to try to outrun