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It seems that everyone is looking for love, and there's nothing more motivating than being single during Valentine's Day. While love is not easy to find, finding possible love interests has become easier with the prevalence of online dating and social media.
Unfortunately, scammers have also tapped into the potential of profiting from people looking for love. The "sweetheart" scam is fairly simple: a scammer creates a fake profile to attract others and then uses emotional tactics to solicit money.
Red Flags That May Indicate a Sweetheart Scam
There are a variety of red flags the people should look out for to avoid falling victim to a sweetheart scam. One very clear red flag is if the person you meet asks for financial help through a wire transfer, especially if it's early in your communication. Although scammers will tend to play on your emotions, it's important not to fall for stories of medical emergencies or travel mishaps.
Another red flag to watch out for is a person immediately suggesting exiting the dating site or app to talk via email or text. While this may seem like a harmless suggestion, dating sites and apps usually provide some level of protection of your identity and there's really no need to communicate with someone you just met outside of the dating site or app.
Finally, although the concept of "love at first site" is romantic, it's a rare occurrence. Considering this, consider it a red flag if a person you meet online claims to love you quickly and pushes to make things more serious.
If you believe you've been a victim of the sweetheart scam, or another type of scam, it's a good idea to learn about your legal options by speaking to a local attorney.