Sometimes even true love is too good to be true.
A growing number of senior citizens have been the victim of romance scams. Lonely people who are looking for romantic partners are targeted through dating websites, applications, and social media.
Do not fall into the trap. All you will have in the end is a broken heart and an empty wallet. The scammer triggers the emotions to con people into giving gifts and money. Some also do the ‘romance scam’ to obtain personal information.
Initially, romance scams were done using online dating websites and applications, but scammers have now moved to email and social media to make it look more authentic.
The con artist usually creates a fake profile which is impressive enough to make you fall into the trap. Furthermore, some of these scammers also impersonate real identities of trusted or popular people such as a professional who works in a foreign country or is a military personnel.
The scammer can go to any extent to gain your trust. They will then express strong feelings and emotions by saying that they feel connected to you. Once you develop similar feelings, they will ask you to send money so they can travel to see you or provide them with personal information, bank account number, gifts or credit card information. In some cases, scammers are interested in asking for intimate images or videos.
Here are some warning signs to help you avoid being a victim of dating and romance scams:
- The scammer will confess and express strong feeling for you within the exchange of a few emails or messages.
- The scammer might ask you to chat privately via an email message or on social media if you two connected on a dating website or application.
- The scammer might ask for your personal contact details for easy
- The scammer’s profile might look odd to you. Either it will not be updated on all mediums or all profiles would lack consistency. This could include profile picture, bio, language or their work and academic history.
- The scammer will make up a story to ask for money or gifts after gaining your interest and trust.
How to protect yourself from being a victim
- There is a possibility that a legitimate person contacts you on a dating website and expresses his or her feelings too soon. Let’s be honest, a person would only message you if they find you attractive or like you. Consider that approach a scam until you are sure it is not. You will have enough time to do your research on your ‘prospective ‘
- You can find the person on all social media platforms and run a Google search to see his online presence.
- Look for spelling and grammar mistakes in their profile. Most scammer profiles are inconsistent and this will give you an idea whether the approach is legitimate or fraudulent.
- If you plan to talk on Skype, make sure that you are not the only one with your camera turned on. It is a scam if their camera is never is working.
- Do not share personal images and videos until you are sure about the person. Many scammers tend to blackmail people after getting hands on such material. It is better that you personally meet them before trusting them.
- If you plan to meet a person from a dating website or application, inform your friends and family so that they know where you will be going.