Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love. Unfortunately, there are scammers who use this holiday to take advantage of those hungry for love and attention. Beware of these predators.  After gaining your trust and affection, they may ask for money. It doesn’t even require an in-person encounter to pull off.

Who Is Most Likely to Be Targeted?

Those most likely to be contacted for a romance scam fall into vulnerable categories. They may be on dating sites and looking for a life partner. The most common demographics of people who lose money to scammers during Valentine’s Day are:

  • Women, ages 40+
  • Widowed
  • Divorced
  • Elderly
  • Disabled

Romance Scams Red Flags

There’s nothing wrong in seeking to connect during Valentine’s Day. However, here are a few warning signs that may help you determine whether the person has bad intentions.

  • They never meet in person or on video calls
  • They move very fast and seem too good to be true
  • They ask for money based on a sad story, soon after you start talking

According to the Federal Trade Commission, millions of dollars are lost each year to romance scams. The FBI estimates the number may be much higher; they suspect only 10% of these scams are reported. Do not hesitate to contact the authorities if you expect you have been scammed. There is nothing to be embarrassed about as the victim. It is more important that they find the perpetrator and prevent it from happening again.

Do not be afraid to ask questions and trust yourself when you feel uncomfortable or find something suspicious. Be confident in who you are and what you deserve.

How to Be Safe

If you do meet someone you like on an app, proceed with caution. Do not share your personal information. If they ask for money, firmly tell them that you do not give money to people you have not met. If you meet them, do not go alone. Choose a meeting place that is well-lit and well-populated.

At Senior Safe and Sound, we are dedicated to protecting the senior population from targeted scams. If you are unsure if you are a victim of a scam, we can help you locate resources to guide you. For additional information and support, contact us by email at info@SeniorSafeAndSound.org or call 858-480-7551.

This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal or medical advice.