Sweetheart Scams are on the rise across America, specifically among the senior population. Sweetheart Scams occur when the perpetrator forms a fake relationship with the victim. Through this relationship, he or she pretends to be in love with the victim in order to con him or her. The ultimate goal for the criminal can be to gain access to the victim’s money, private information or physical person, or a combination of all three.
Victims of Sweetheart Scams are typically older, moderately wealthy, and lonely. Seniors are often isolated in their homes when criminals start to interact with them. The senior is befriended either in person or online. Although these scams can also attack the senior through the mail or over the phone, these attacks are less frequent.
Unfortunately, people can fall victim to Sweetheart Scams and not realize the scam for what it is until it is too late. Let us share a few tips to protect you and those you love from Sweetheart Scams.
1. Be cautious of those you choose to let into your life.
It is important to always be wary of the people you let into your life. These scammers are smart. They will research you, your income, your net worth and your family information, all before they ever contact you. Be careful of your first interactions with a new potential friend. If a new acquaintance gives you any reason at all to be suspicious, be wary and protect yourself.
2. Be wary of online relationships.
Many Sweetheart Scams happen over social media and dating websites. While oftentimes online relationships are safe, many times they are not. Remember, you never really know who you are communicating with online, so keep your guard up. If the person wants to meet you in person, be sure to tell others and bring a trusted friend with you to the meeting.
3. NEVER send anyone large amounts of money.
Sending large amounts of money to another person always has risk associated with it, but even more so when you are sending large amounts of money to someone you have recently met. If this person is overseas or you have never met him or her in person, do not send money. You need to meet in person and form a relationship face-to-face before ever considering this. If you have only been dating for a few months and you are asked for money this could be a serious red flag.
4. Use your common sense, even with your sweetheart.
While it is easy to get swept up in a new relationship, keep your wits about you. Is this person genuine? Do you think the relationship is moving too fast? Does this person tell you personal details about him or herself? These are all important questions to consider. You may think you know this person well, but take a moment to think about it before moving any further.
Unfortunately, Sweetheart Scams are all too prevalent today for our nation’s seniors. We work with seniors and their loved ones each day to ensure that they are protected both now and well into the future. Does this article raise questions for you? Don’t wait to contact our law firm about what you need today.