CHICAGO (WLS) -- With Valentine's Day coming up, it's a great time for a warning about romance scams online.
The Better Business Bureau says scammers prey on the emotions of vulnerable people. They use social media and dating apps to find victims.
Last year, the BBB says there were more than $200,000 in losses for romance schemes in Illinois.
Here's how the scammers strike: They create fake relationships to gain trust, and then start asking for money, inventing stories about sick relatives and financial troubles.
So here's some advice to protect your heart and your wallet.
-Never send money to strangers.
-Use reverse image search to investigate the person.
-Don't believe sad stories that suddenly come up and involve money.
-Take it slow, like that Diana Ross song says- "you can't hurry love."
Scammers are using COVID as an excuse not to meet victims in person and they know a lot of people have just gotten stimulus checks, so there's money in accounts they want.