AIG Life & Retirement surveyed a number of adults age 65 or older to see what they knew about common scams. The results were surprising. The survey results revealed that 57 percent of those surveyed had no idea what a romance scam was or how it works.
That wasn’t all that the survey revealed. Another 57 percent admitted they’d never heard of invoice/bill scams, 52 percent had never heard of prepaid gift card scams, and a whopping 60 percent had never heard of a pigeon drop scam. Ten percent of those who were questioned couldn’t even name one of the most common scams against the elderly.
What is a Romance Scam?
Romance scams target widows and widowers. Knowing the single senior may be lonely, the scammer contacts them online posing as an interested single person. They build up an online relationship, often over Facebook or another social media site, and say the right things to get the senior to fall in love.
Over time, the scammer starts saying they really wish they could meet in person, but they don’t have the money. The goal is to get the older adult to send them money. Once they have the money, they will create an excuse about why they can’t travel. One excuse is that his/her car broke down and the money had to be used for the repairs. They’ll try to get more cash at that point.
Romance Scams Cause Embarrassment
Once an older adult is scammed, he/she is not likely to report it. Embarrassment and shame at having been hoaxed are common. A British woman admits she fell for a scammer who claimed he wanted to marry her and buy a home together. When she sent him more than $12,500, he disappeared.
In the U.S., it’s reported that romance scams accounted for losses of $143 million in 2018. Very few romance scams are resolved and return money to the person who was scammed. If your parent is scammed, they must report it.
Make sure your parents know they shouldn’t send money to anyone they’ve met online. They shouldn’t click a link they get in an instant message or email. They shouldn’t accept a friend request from a stranger without a heightened level of caution.
They should be ready to discuss any new romantic interests they meet on a dating site or social media with you. They shouldn’t feel embarrassed. If they talk about that person with you, you can do reverse image searches, research the person’s name and location, and take steps to verify it is a real person.
Your mom and dad are less likely to be lonely if they’re enjoying the company of a companion. Companionship is just one benefit caregivers offer. Talk to our senior care agency to find out more about caregivers, their rates, and the many services they offer.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care Services in Rochester NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.