As Valentine’s Day approaches, watch for ‘Sweetheart’ scams

Learn how to spot red flags before scammers break your heart and bank
Valentine Sweethearts candies made by the New England Confectionery Company, NECCO, some...
Valentine Sweethearts candies made by the New England Confectionery Company, NECCO, some imprinted with new sentiments, are seen at their factory in Revere, Mass., Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2006. The company unveiled 10 new sayings to be spelled out on its traditional Valentine's Day heart candies, including the sweet promise, "Home Soon," and the saltier suggestion, "Go Home." NECCO president and CEO Domenic Antonellis said the home theme was developed with the troops in Iraq in mind. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)(CHITOSE SUZUKI | ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Updated: Feb. 8, 2019 at 12:06 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, Tennessee state officials are sending out a warning about “Sweetheart” scammers.

Last year, Tennessee ranked 10 in the U.S. for fraud. Social media and online dating have made it easier than ever to meet new people and find love. Unfortunately, it has made scammers’ work easier too.

“Valentine’s Day is a time to show your loved ones how much you care, but it also provides the perfect opportunity for unscrupulous individuals to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers by utilizing emotion-provoking scam tactics,” said Julie Mix McPeak, Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance commissioner. “We urge consumers to be wary of deals that sound too good to be true and individuals who ask for money through online dating sites.”

Often times, scammers will create fake profiles to attract individuals and then use emotional tactics to solicit money.

Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • You meet someone on a dating site and the person immediately wants to leave the site and communicate in another way, like email or text.
  • The individual claims love quickly and things turn serious.
  • The person claims to be from the U.S., but he or she also claims to be traveling or working overseas.
  • Scammers tend to play on emotions. Don’t fall for any stories about the person needing money or having medical emergencies, travel mishaps or financial setbacks.
  • Scammers will ask for your financial help by wiring them money. The first transfer is small, then by a larger request.

Remember: Never send money to someone who is using the above tactics or to someone you’ve never met in person.

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