Unfortunately, romance scams are all too common in the senior community, playing on the vulnerability of wanting to find companionship and love. Everyone is susceptible to romance scams. You do not have to feel embarrassed if you come in contact with someone trying to swindle you out of hard-earned money. Instead, speak with someone you trust about identifying a scam.
What Is a Romance Scam?
A romance or sweetheart scam occurs when the scammer creates a fake dating profile on a popular dating app. Then, they use fake pictures and false interests to attract older adults who may be seeking love. Next, the scammer uses flattery to gain your trust. Then they follow through with a plan to trick you into paying their rent, sending cash for a made-up desperate situation, or divulging personal information.
How Can you Detect a Romance Scam?
Reference our list of red flags for identifying a romance scam. Always keep communication on the app, speak with the person over FaceTime, or meet in a safe place to avoid getting scammed.
Here are some warning signs:
- The person repeatedly cancels meet-ups or video calls at the last second.
- The person pours over you with I love yous and expresses how devoted they are to you before they know you well.
- Grammar and spelling mistakes are prevalent.
- The scammer lies about traveling for work but claims to reside in your city.
- They tell a long story about hardship in the family and how they need money to bail them out.
- The person blackmails you with intimate pictures you sent, so you are too embarrassed to tell anyone about them.
If you feel suspicious about any online acquaintance, ask a trusted friend for help identifying if you are involved in a scam. A second opinion will always benefit you when speaking to strangers online.
Stay informed on scams that target seniors so that you can practice caution. Senior Safe and Sound is here to help you by providing tips for detecting scams before you fall victim to one. 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.