FRANKFORT, Ky. (WBKO) --- Valentine's Day is coming up, and this week Attorney General Andy Beshear is letting Kentuckians know about online dating scams.
Beshear says he has already received notices from four victims in Campbell, Jefferson and Wayne counties to report losses of nearly $300,000 just this year.
In each case, a “sweetheart scammer” used legitimate online dating websites Match.com and eHarmony to lure victims into a fake online relationship.
Beshear says the online scammer used the victim’s emotions by tricking them into sending thousands of dollars to supposedly help them get out of various types of legal or financial trouble.
Beshear said one victim lost more than $12,000 to their sweetheart scammer and even purchased a wedding dress for a supposed February 2019 wedding date.
Beshear said in 2017, the FBI reported sweetheart scams cost victims in the United States more than $211 million in losses, which makes it the second-largest online crime in terms of money taken from victims.
“As I have traveled the state over the last three years, senior citizens, many who recently lost their spouse, have repeatedly told me they were too embarrassed to report their financial losses and heartbreak after falling victim to a sweetheart scam,” Beshear said. “As Valentine’s Day approaches I encourage Kentuckians to talk with friends and family who are dating online or seeking companionship about the red flags associated with a sweetheart scammer.”
Beshear's office says Sweetheart scammers also pretend to be someone they are not by stealing others photos to use on their dating profiles.
Conducting a Google Image Search
is one way Kentuckians may be able to detect a scammer who is using another person’s photo.