Valentine's Day scams can leave you broke and broken-hearted - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Valentine's Day scams can leave you broke and broken-hearted

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MADISON (WKOW) -- This Valentine's Day weekend, many singles looking for love will head to online dating sites, or social media in hopes of finding a match. But the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection says the holiday is an opportune time for scammers looking to take advantage of those looking for love.

Sandy Chalmers, the Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection says, "The average financial loss from these romance scams is $15,000 to $20,000. The criminal takes time to let the relationship develop, and waits to ask for money until the victim believes he or she is in a real relationship."

Chalmers also says the most common targets are women over 40 who are divorced, widowed or disabled.

If you're looking for romance online, be on the lookout for a "Sweetheart Scam" when a potential partner asks you to leave the dating site and communicate by personal email, professes love for you immediately, requests you send personal information like social security, bank account, or credit card numbers, or asks you to send money by wire transfer.

For more information or to file a consumer complaint, visit datcp.wi.gov, or call the Consumer Information Hotline at 1-800-422-7128
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