Romance scams rise around Valentine's Day

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Love may be in the air, but so are online scammers this Valentine’s Day. According to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, romance frauds account for one of the highest financial losses of all internet facilitated crimes.

"It doesn’t happen as much, but when it does the scammers get a lot of money from the victims," said Mike Archocosky, Detective Sgt. for the Marquette City Police.

Officials said victims of online dating scams are usually women over the age of 40 who are targeted through social media or online dating sites.

"They pick out their victims to see which ones are going through relationship troubles, widowed, recent divorce, breakups, and they go after them," explained Archocosky.

Officials added that scammers may use Valentine’s Day as a way to pull at heart strings to extract money.

"It’s a red flag if they ask you for financial information or to wire them money," said Archocosky. "From the research I’ve done, a lot of these scammers will be underselling themselves, they look like the average person."

If you suspect you are being scammed, officials said to contact your local police department.

Other types of Valentine’s Day scams include phony florists or e-cards asking for credit card information. If a website includes an 'https', it means it's secure.

Officials said another way to avoid online scams is shop for Valentine’s Day gifts locally.

"It's important to shop locally especially on Valentine’s Day because you can directly talk to us," said owner and manager of Flower Works, Andrea Forsberg. "We can ensure what you receive for your money."

Flower Works is even partnering with another local business, Wattsson and Wattsson to give the community a local gift.

"For three packages, your purchase through Wattsson and Watstson can get you six red roses wrapped from us," said Forsberg. "That’s really nice to work with another store in the community."