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Several online dating apps and sites are accessible if you’re trying to establish a trusting relationship in retirement. While it can help you date someone new, there are also risks.
Those looking for love must avoid courting con artists at any age, but older adults are particularly vulnerable to a few online dating scams.
This article will discover the common online dating scams, the red flags to watch out for, and more helpful information. So, keep reading!
Popular Types of Senior Online Dating Scams
The possibilities are endless once a scammer gets you; however, the following are some of the most well-known variations:
Coding false online dating or social media profiles to deceive trusting individuals is known as catfishing. The person who creates these fake profiles is often, but not always, from abroad.
What Is a Catfishing Scam?
Catfishing is a dishonest practice in which a person fabricates a false identity or fictional persona on a social networking site, usually to prey on a single victim.
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Signs of Catfishing Scams
- Only have professional photos; no everyday snapshots with friends are a red flag.
- A discrepancy in social media accounts and online dating sites, such as different names or images.
- Don’t use a video chat service like Facebook Messenger, Skype, or FaceTime to talk with you.
Techniques Used by Catfishers
On the dating site, this person might send you an unexpected friend request or message; over time, you might start feeling attracted to them.
When the time comes for you to date or meet in person, something unexpected arises, such as a family death, the inability to purchase a plane ticket, or the need for financial assistance.
Risks and Consequences of Catfishing Scams
Financial fraud, sextortion, and predatory sexual behavior toward adults and adolescents are just a few other potential negative effects.
That’s why you do not send intimate photos—especially with your face showing.
The traditional sweetheart scammers prey on recently bereaved or divorced folks in their 50s and older.
What Is the Romance Scam?
The so-called “sweetheart scam” occurs when a perpetrator engages potential victims by creating fictitious profiles on dating websites before requesting money.
Characteristics of Romance Scammers
- Immediately profess their love and strong feelings without ever having met.
- They may not agree to talk on the phone or a video chat.
- They will say they’re an engineer working on an oil rig (or other type of remote work) or traveling extensively for work.
Techniques Used by Romance Scammers
A common sign of a sweetheart scam is excessive flattery or affection early in the relationship to manipulate your emotions.
The person reaching out to you can be thoughtful, friendly, and truly interested in you. If you date a scammer, things frequently get out of hand quickly.
Warning Cues of Sweetheart Scams
Some signs could enable you to recognize sweetheart scams. They consist of the following:
- They would rather communicate outside of dating platforms.
- They convince you not to discuss your relationship with your family and friends.
Risks and Consequences of Romance Scams
Victims of these frauds experience guilt, humiliation, shock, rage, anxiety, tension, fear, sadness, and even suicidal thoughts.
Financial crimes committed against senior citizens can be catastrophic and frequently leave victims unable to compensate for their losses related to senior dating frauds.
What Is a Financial Scam?
Financial fraud is when a person steals your money or otherwise jeopardizes your financial stability through false information, dishonest tactics, or other illegal methods.
Types of Financial Scams
- Identity theft: This type of theft occurs when someone obtains your financial data, such as your bank account or credit card number, and uses it to make unauthorized withdrawals from your account.
- Investment fraud: This category includes the sale of securities or investments based on inaccurate or deceptive information.
- Fraudulent mortgage and loan applications: These can be made by a third party using a fake identity or information that you provided.
- Mass market fraud: This fraud is conducted by mass mailing, telemarketing, or spam emails. It also includes invitations to honor societies, phony charities, lotteries, etc.
Techniques Used by Financial Scammers
A technique used in some financial frauds is grooming, usually to persuade the victim to cooperate after a suspicious activity or to prevent them from reporting the fraud.
They may ask you to transfer money to others involved in the scheme by purchasing gift cards for them using bank transfers or other forms of payment such as Google Pay.
Warning Signs of Financial Scams
Elder financial fraud warning indicators include:
- Unfamiliar expenditures, new loans or accounts, or inquiries into your or your senior loved one’s credit history that you or they didn’t make.
- Calls from businesses or credit card issuers on debt you did not incur.
Risks and Consequences of Financial Scams
Financial fraud on the internet can potentially harm mental health. Embarrassed, ashamed, and guilty feelings are common among fraud victims.
Statistics Of Senior Dating Scams
According to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, approximately $2.9 billion is stolen from seniors each year by con artists.
Those aged 70 and older reported the highest median losses at $9,475.80.
Everyone is susceptible to being the victim of a scam, and many con artists prey on intelligent seniors with higher-than-average incomes.
How to Avoid Online Dating Scams
- Conducting Thorough Research On Potential Matches: When dating online, if something doesn’t seem right, conduct some independent research.
- Refraining From Sharing Personal Information Too Quickly: Be cautious not to divulge personal information (phone number or address) while you date someone online.
- Meeting In A Public Place: You may stay safe by keeping the first few talks on your phone or the online dating site.
- Informing A Friend Or Family Member: If they are feeling uneasy about a person you met online and you are confident that they are acting in your best interests, heed their counsel.
What to Do If You’ve Fallen Victim to a Senior Online Dating Scam
There are multiple ways to do if you think you’ve been duped:
- Stop All Communication With The Scammer: Immediately block the con artist on all communication channels, including messaging apps, phone, text, and social media sites.
- Report The Scam To The Dating App And The FTC: Report or contact the fraud to the FTC and the IC3. Bigger sites have more resources to put toward security and profile verification.
- Notify Your Bank Or Credit Card Company: Contact your banking institutions to the possibility that you were conned. Change your passwords all at once.
- Seek Emotional Support: Share your problem with a friend or member of your family, and decide together what to do next. For your protection, look over these dating tips for seniors.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The following are some of the most frequent queries regarding senior online dating fraud:
How Do I Know I’m Talking to a Scammer?
Dating scammers frequently use an official name to disguise who they are. They often request sensitive information.
Are Online Dating Sites Safe for Seniors?
Seniors looking for love online should use caution, just like everyone else. Scammers can take advantage of the retirement funds many elderly possess.
Is There a Senior Online Dating App Available?
An established dating service that includes senior citizens is called SeniorMatch. More than 6,000 users log on to the website daily, with 1 million “singles over 50.”
What Is the Role of the Federal Trade Commission?
The FTC enforces federal consumer protection laws to stop fraud, deceit, and unfair commercial practices.
Final Thoughts on Online Dating Site Scams
Surely, not everyone on a dating or social media website is a con artist. Also, remember that even after you meet in person, there are still hazards associated with internet dating.
The crucial thing to remember is that anyone you connect with should be reported to the dating app or social media platform you’re using, the FTC, as soon as they ask for money.
We hope this information will help you understand how to stay safe and protect yourself before filling out a dating profile.