NORTH GREENBUSH, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The North Greenbush Police Department has seen an uptick in “catfishing” scams recently. These are where you meet someone online and build a “relationship” with them, even though you’ve never actually met.

After chatting for a bit, the scammer will ask for money. Usually a very small amount at first, and they’ll have a good reason as to why they need it- like food, rent, things of that sort. You, at this point, have started to care for the person the scammer pretends to be, so you want to help them out. Then it becomes more and more money until you are in financial trouble.

These scammers are very convincing and will go to long lengths to increase their credibility with you. They will learn what you’re looking for in a person before messaging you and use that along with your good nature to manipulate you. Victims of these scams can go years without catching on.

Catfish scammers are very rare in the United States and use complex technology that makes it nearly impossible for police to track them down. They work in a network of scammers and each one likely has several victims.

The North Greenbush Police Department reminded everyone to be on the lookout for these scams or family members who may be involved. If you’ve never met the person face-to-face, police say you should not send them money, or trust they are who they say they are. Your best defense against scams, said North Greenbush Police, is vigilance.