LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Officials are warning you to be careful of so-called "sweetheart scams" this Valentine's Day season.

Attorney General Andy Beshear says Kentuckians were tricked out of more than $80,000 last year in online dating scams.

A sweetheart scammer typically uses a fake photo and identity to contact a victim through social media or online dating sites. Once the scammer gains the victim's trust, they pretend to need money for an emergency.

Beshear said identifying these red flags could help stop a sweetheart scam, watch for someone who:

  • Claims very quickly that they are in love.
  • Refuses to meet in person.
  • Asks to leave the protections of a legitimate dating or social media site and communicate via email, text or instant messenger.
  • Demands the relationship be a secret.
  • Provides information that cannot be verified through an independent online search or through trustworthy sources.
  • Demands money or gift cards sent overseas.
  • Solicits sensitive personal or financial information.

Kentuckians who suspect a scam should contact the Office of the Attorney General at 502-696-5300 and fill out an online complaint form.

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