State consumer protection department warns of ‘sweetheart scam’

State consumer protection department warns of ‘sweetheart scam’

As Valentine’s Day approaches, officials with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection are warning people to be careful not to become victims of the so-called “sweetheart scam.”

Officials said scammers use online dating services, advertising services or social media to connect with potential victims, and, after building the victim’s trust, ask the victim to send them money for travel expenses, medical bills or other issues.

Scammers can also use extortion to get money from victims by threatening to post the victim’s personal information or pictures online, officials said.

Officials said some warning signs of the scam include:

the scammer claims to be from the United States but is deployed in the military or overseas

the scammer professes their love almost immediately

the scammer asks to move a conversation from a dating site to email, or asks for personal or financial information

the scammer makes excuses for not meeting in person

To file a complaint, call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-422-7128 or email datcphotline@wisconsin.gov.

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