It is not unusual to meet people online, but it comes at the risk of falling victim to catfishing.
The long running show of the same name proves that it is easier to fall for an imposter than you’d think.
“We all could put fake pictures up. We all could make it look good so you really need to double check, who you’re talking to. Who you’re communicating with,” Officer Heather Aleshire with the Hagerstown Police Department said.
If you do decide to meet someone online, police recommend utilizing the buddy system and to meet in public, populated areas.
“What’s it hurt to take a friend with you, if it’s true? If it’s really what they are saying then your buddy can go away,” Officer Aleshire said.
Stay on guard when it seems too good to be true it usually, and video chatting before meeting up may save you in the long run.
“Any of us can get caught up in that web of believing someone and thinking they’re going to. Maybe they’re going to give you money. Or they’re going to buy us things. Or they’re going to lavish us with things. And that might not or is not going to be the case,” Officer Aleshire said.
Police say you should never give out any personal or banking information that could compromise your identity.