Nick Rees Oct. 21, 2013, 6:11pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently warned Ohioans about sweetheart scams in which a con artist develops a relationship with a victim, often online, before asking them to send money.

The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Section has received about 70 complaints about such scams since October 2011, with an average reported loss of more than $14,000 and a highest reported loss of $210,000.

"This scam can be very costly both emotionally and financially," DeWine said. "Con artists can spend months developing relationships with their victims, but eventually they'll make up some excuse why they need money. In these situations, if someone you've never met in person asks you to send money, it's probably a scam."

Sweetheart scammers often meet their victims online through a dating or social networking web site and communicate through emails, instant messages or by phone. Eventually, the scammer will ask for money to aid in the cost of an expense, such as airfare to visit the victim, medical expenses or fees associated with military leave. The scammer requests that the money be sent via wire transfer, which makes money that is sent virtually impossible to recover.

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