Scammers can leave you heartbroken & broke this Valentine's Day

Posted at 5:11 PM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 21:01:04-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A warning for people looking for love online -- "sweetheart scammers" are on the prowl for your money, not your heart this Valentines Day.

“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," TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak.

The Tennessee's Department of Commerce & Finance said when people meet someone online or through a dating mobile app, things will start off well.

"Human nature doesn't change, people are always looking for love, looking for companionship and they're looking for someone who is going to tell them the things that they want to hear," TDCI Communications Director Kevin Walters said.

"What we're telling people to look out for are the red flags, that things that go fast. They get serious really fast and there's always an element of financial distress and you get to ride in on the white horse and be the good guy and save the day and the scammers are playing you and they're playing on your emotions to get that money," Walters said.

Walters shared the following advice on what to be watch out for.

· You meet someone on a dating site. The person you’re communicating with immediately wants to leave the dating site and start communicating over personal email or IM.

· The individual claims love quickly and things turn serious.

· While the person claims to be from the U.S., he or she also claims to be traveling or working overseas.

· Scammers play on emotions by making up elaborate stories about needing money for travel mishaps, medical emergencies, missing visas (or other documents) or a temporary financial setback.

· The scammers will ask for your financial help by wiring them money. The first transfer is small, but it’s followed by requests for more.

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