Looking for love: Tennessee leaders warn of Sweetheart Scams as Valentine's Day nears

(Image: janeb13, Pixabay)

They love you, they love you not - and some love your wallet a whole lot.

Love will be in the air this Valentine's Day, but so will scams by people trying to take advantage of your feelings.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) says these Sweetheart scammers will claim to love you, but are only after your pocketbook.

The rise in online dating websites, apps and social platforms have given scammers a new way to trick people.

Scammers will make fake profiles then use emotional tactics to go after your money.

One major red flag is if the person you think you are taking to claims to love you quickly.

"Specifically what they do is meet someone on a dating app, things get very fast, they confess their love for you and how serious they are about you. and then it eventually turns into how they need your money," says TDCI spokesman Kevin Walters.

Here's another major sign that the person you are talking to may be a scammer: "One of the first red flags would be if you meet someone online you never met, and somehow when you want to meet them they keep their identity and what they look like at arms length. There's always a reason why they can't meet you in person," says Walters.

The TDCI says there is one simple solution to avoid becoming a victim: never give money to someone you have never met.

If you suspect someone is a scammer, report it to police.

The TDCI also says gift card scams are becoming more common. Instead of asking for money, a scammer may want you to buy a gift card and give them the number on the back.

The department says Tennesseans lost nearly $1 million to gift card scams last year.

You can read more tips from the TDCI here on how to keep from losing a lot more than your heart this Valentine's Day.

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