Protect Your Heart and Wallet
Every year millions of Americans visit online dating websites hoping to find a companion. But scam artists use these websites to target victims by appealing to their romantic side to obtain money, gifts or personal details.
Here’s how the scam works. You’re contacted by someone online, often from hundreds of miles away or in another country. They send you an unrealistic photograph of themselves that makes them appear very attractive. Your online “date” expresses strong emotions and soon suggests you move the relationship outside of the dating website to phone or email.
Once they’ve gained your trust and stolen your heart, the scammer may claim to be in the depths of despair due to financial hardship and ask you for money or gifts. You could not only end up losing a lot of money but feeling emotionally betrayed.
Protect yourself from dating scams by:
- Always consider the possibility of being scammed by someone you’ve recently met online and remove the emotion from your decision-making process.
- Do not send money or goods to someone you have not met in person.
- Be wary of how much personal information you share online. Scam artists can create a fake profile with this information or use it against you in another way.
- Never give credit card or sensitive personal information to anyone by email.
- Research the dating company through an agency like the Better Business Bureau. Select a service that encourages high standards of behavior and read the contract’s fine print.
If you recognize these warning signs or suspect unusual behavior, report it to the website’s administrator and cease all communication with the person. Don’t hesitate to call an ElderWatch volunteer specialist to report any concerns.