NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) –
Police departments across the country, including New Haven, said they’re seeing a rise in crimes related to online dating and internet purchases.
New Haven’s robbery-burglary unit said it has been investigating those types of crimes now more than ever.
In the past month, police said there have been several crimes reported each week.
They also fear that victims are not coming forward.
While most online dating and internet sales sites offer safety tips, New Haven police said many users don’t actually heed the advice.
They warned that customers often don’t know who they meet and set themselves up as a victim.
Instructions to a recent victim were to park in the street and walk up a darkened driveway of a darkened home in an unfamiliar neighborhood in the middle of the night. The victim was then told to await further instructions.
The further instructions, according to police, ended up being “give me your money, car keys and phone.”
Police reminded everyone that they’ve long offered their headquarters as an internet purchase exchange site.
They also said that daytime exchanges are better than nighttime and public locations with a lot of pedestrian traffic are great.
Police urged people to save online information and related photos, tell a friend where they are going and keep in touch with them, and don’t carry large amounts of cash. Valuables should be left at home.
Police said people should be responsible for their own rides, never get into a stranger’s car, stay sober, download an emergency notification service and leave if they feel uncomfortable.