Dear Readers: Online Romance Scams

By NCEA Team

Dear Readers,

During the month of February, our thoughts turn to Valentine’s Day and feeling connected.  The internet is a great way to explore, but we caution you to use your mind and protect your heart.

Have you ever received questionable alerts or notifications in your email or social media accounts that have caused you to raise an eyebrow? Follow your instincts.  Did you know that when you are online, looking to socialize, network or date, that scammers may be scoping you out through matchmaking, social networking and professional sites?

For those of us who are open and looking for love, realize that relationship building takes time.   Understand that there are scammers who are creating elaborate schemes and adopting false personas to develop “relationships” and extort some out of a combination of our homes, retirement, or life savings. Scammers attempt to convince their targets after swift attempts at gaining trust, that they are in love, often times targeting isolated or lonely individuals.

In matters of the heart, be a skeptic. If you make it known that you are out there looking for love, then you are at risk of falling into the clutches of a scammer. Do not let a romance scam break your heart and leave you financially devastated.

If you suspect an online relationship is a scam, file a report with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center www.ic3.gov  and the Federal Trade Commission Crime Complaint Center www.consumer.ftc.gov. For other resources and supports, consider reaching out to a host of the following organizations in your vicinity:

Contact the Eldercare Locator call center to connect with resources in your area 1-800-677-1116/ eldercare.acl.gov

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! Romance scammers do not discriminate, and they are not concerned with causing harm or wrongdoing. We implore you to avoid humiliation and heartache by remaining vigilant and to cautiously pursue online relationships.

Turn to the National Center on Elder Abuse’s revamped Looking for Love fact sheet series (Version #1 and Version # 2) for more pointers and guidance.


The NCEA Team


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Special Thanks to Judith D. Tamkin

We are sincerely appreciative to Judith D. Tamkin for her gift to help establish the USC Center on Elder Mistreatment’s website. Her deep and personal commitment to eradicating elder abuse is helping to reshape our understanding of elder abuse and ultimately save innumerable older adults from abuse and neglect.