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Beware of online love scams


MADISON, WI (WSAU) -  Valentines Day is supposed to be a day of love, but some people seeking love online are becoming victims of scam artists.

Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection’s Sandy Chalmers says if you are searching for your Valentine, beware of the ones that only love your money and identity and not you.

Chalmers says crooks often operate from overseas and find some way to convince victims to send money. She says the most common victims are women over 40 who are divorced, widowed, or disabled but she says every demographic has some risk.

One such scam lures victims into providing photos and phone numbers, only to find they were tricked and their personal information was posted on a website listing the victims as cheaters to extort money to have the items removed.

DATCP officials warn people to be wary of people who fall instantly in love with you online, are working overseas or claim to be in the military, and have plenty of excuses not to meet in person. They also say to never ever wire money or give personal information to people you’ve never met.

For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at datcp.wisconsin.gov, send an e-mail to datcphotline@wisconsin.gov or call the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.