Guard your heart. That's not something that was shared in a greeting card on Valentine's Day, but a serious warning just issued for Missouri residents from the Secret Service. Yes, the Secret Service.

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I have always associated the Secret Service with protection of the President. I was apparently wrong in limiting their scope. They are seriously concerned about your romantic life and your heart. As a matter of fact, they've issued a bulletin about how Missourians need to avoid online romance scams. Really.

This is not a lone wolf crime either. The Secret Service says that many of these online romance scams are done by intricate networks of criminals who do "extensive research on potential victims, looking through social media and dating sites for posts divulging information about their lives and personalities".

What can a Missourian do to avoid being scammed in their love life?

The Secret Service says to not post very specific information about you or your family and to be wary of all sites, even the reputable ones because "scammers are on these as well".

If chatting online becomes serious enough for a meeting, make sure that meeting happens in public where safety and protection are readily available.

What if you believe you've been taken advantage of?

While the Secret Service has been successful in recovering money lost to online romance scam victims, it's difficult to investigate because many of the perpetrators are located overseas.

They warn that if a person or situation seems too good to be true, it likely is.

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Gallery Credit: Chris Degenhardt/Gridiron Heroes via YouTube

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