# 109 Valentine's Day is Coming
The “sweetheart scam” is one of the most widely utilized modes of preying upon a victim for financial gain. In 2020, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received reports from 6,817 elderly victims who experienced over $281 million in losses to confidence fraud and romance scams.
“Scammers target older adults to take advantage of their polite and trusting nature, as well as their typically stable financial situation.” Other theories include changes in the brain, living alone, being lonely, and having plenty of money.
These schemes are commonly conducted online but can also occur in person. Scammers convince their victims that they are in love, use those emotions to build trust, and then take their life savings. These scams are orchestrated like a maestro conducting a symphony.
I’ve written about scams several times and I don’t mean to belabor the point, but there was a story on Good Morning America a few weeks ago that I wanted to share with you.
The article noted that the period between Christmas and Valentine’s Day is a prime time for such scams. They shared the story of a woman who lost her life savings, $175,000, to a romance scammer. Please take a few minutes to listen to her story.
Typically, divorced or widowed women are the target, but according to one research firm, “more than one in 10 (11 per cent) of men have fallen victim to romance scams online, compared to five per cent of women.”
Among scams the FTC tracks, “romance scams made up the highest reported losses for those 60 to 79 years old. And those 70 and older reported the highest median losses: $9,475.80.”
As a reminder, telltale signs of romance scammers are:
They claim to live or travel outside the United States. This allows them to avoid meeting in person.
They seem too good to be true and say all the right things.
They quickly escalate the relationship by using flattery, professing love, and asking to move conversations off the dating service so they can communicate directly by text or email.
They make plans to meet in person but come up with excuses.
They claim to have a medical emergency or unexpected expense and ask for money. They typically ask victims to wire money or to buy a gift card and provide them with the card number.
The scammer's profile contains vague or few images across platforms.
If you are interested in learning more, there are numerous articles to read. I found these two interesting:
If you have FaceBook, you will find a wealth of information and stories on SocialCatfish.com.
Just one part of the plan to age well.
ON A SIDE NOTE: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO AGING WELL NEWS - IT’S TWO YEARS OLD TODAY. THIS ARTICLE IS NUMBER 109.
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I had an idea on how to market my newsletter. I started accepting all friend requests on Facebook. If they wanted to chat I would promote my newsletter. It didn't work, most were scammers. With the advent of artificial intelligence the only way that I could tell that they were not truthful was when they asked for money. I was amazed at the sheer volume of people trying to take advantage of an old man.
I have to say I made a few mistakes in my elder life, but getting duped by the promise of "romance" was not one of them. That love boat sailed a long long time ago! Ha ha ha. It is SERIOUS business, though, and I personally have two friends who lost a LOT of money on these online schemes, and what is worse, they didn't feel they had the right to protest because they felt like they themselves were to blame! So it is a doubly painful con. Thank you, Janice for always getting these things out under the light.