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Don’t be victimized this Valentine’s Day!

As many people know, scams are more prominent than ever, taking on many forms to prey on unsuspecting victims. Older adults especially are targeted by scammers and should be wary of texts, phone calls and even online relationships from people they do not know. Prevalence of romance scams have been steadily increasing, with online dating being an easily accessible way for older adults to meet new people and seek companionship.

Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses this relationship to manipulate and solicit money from the victim. Scammers will often seem sincere, loving, and convincing. The scammer’s intention is to establish a relationship as quickly as possible and gain trust. They then use this intimate relationship to manipulate and steal money from the victim.

Romantic relationships not only end in financial loss, but also heartbreak and emotional unrest.

Here we will list tips on how to protect yourself against fraudulent online courtships:

  1. Be careful what you post online. Scammers may use this info to gain insight into you and your personal life.
  2. Research the person’s photo and name for legitimacy.
  3. Take it slow and ask questions about the person.
  4. Beware if the individual requests photos of financial documents or information.
  5. Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse as to why he or she can’t. A huge red flag is when they state they are from the U.S. but are abroad for work, travel, or are in the military.
  6. Never send money to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone!