Many of us have heard about common scams that target the elderly. The mail scam, the telemarketer scam, the family emergency scam, each of these scams target vulnerable seniors and try to gain access to their personal details. Another type of scam that has recently risen in prominence is the Sweetheart Scam. Protecting you and your senior loved ones from falling victim to scams is important to us, which is why we want to share some information about Sweetheart Scams to help you identify if you or a loved one are being targeted.
What is a Sweetheart Scam?
A criminal will pose as a person looking for a relationship online, and often enters into a relationship with a vulnerable senior. As the relationship progresses, the criminal will ask the senior to send them money or to give them access to their bank details or Social Security Number. Unfortunately, once the criminal has achieved their financial goal, they cease all communication with the senior. Often times, this leaves the senior financially impaired and brokenhearted.
What are the warning signs of a Sweetheart Scam?
There is no harm in you or a senior loved one meeting someone online. If the romantic interest repeatedly refuses to video chat, meet in person, and begins to frequently ask for money to cover emergency situations, this may raise a red flag. Remember, there should be no reason for a romantic interest whom you have never met to have access to your Social Security Number or online banking details. We also warn you against wiring or transferring money to an online love interest unless you are absolutely certain that he or she is who they present themselves as. Often, if someone asks you to send money, and you oblige, they will continue to ask for more.
How do I protect myself or a senior I love?
The short answer is to remain vigilant and use common sense. Be guarded when it comes to people you meet online. Confide in close friends and family members if you suspect something is not quite right with an online acquaintance. Above all, do not be embarrassed or ashamed! Criminals are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and it can be difficult to determine whether you are falling victim to a scam.
We know it can sometimes be challenging to recognize if you are being targeted by a scam. If you have any questions or if you are ready to talk to a Florida Elder Law attorney about protecting your assets from being targeted, do not wait to contact our office.