Valentine’s Day is intended for matters of the romantic heart rather than heartache over being financially duped, but such is not always the case. The FBI reports that in 2017 alone, well-intended and/or love-struck individuals were bamboozled out of $230 million. As a matter of fact, romance scams currently account for the largest amount of money lost to online swindles, so lovers beware!
Naturally, prevention is far more desirable than a fix, so schooling-up on romance scams before pursuing a cyber-connection is optimal. On the other hand, no one wants to admit they have been conned, particularly those in our inner circle including parents, and even grandparents. In other words, what if our loved one keeps their affairs private? What if they are currently being pursued or duped and won’t talk about it? What can a caring soul do?
Talk about It
Communication around the topic is a good start. You might start off a conversation about online scammers by saying, “You will never believe what I read today about scammers and con artists!” Yes, talk about this blog. Even if your loved one does not open up about their online activities, (It’s fair to say that online dating still carries a stigma for folks born before cyber-savvy millennials.) you can introduce them to helpful resources.
Learn More about It
Just in case they would like to learn more or are ‘asking for a friend’, you can rest easier knowing you’ve made them aware. Listed below are additional helpful resources:
Scam Gram: It’s NOT OKAY, Cupid! https://consumeraction.salsalabs.org/jan_2019_scamgram
Call 800-962-2873 to report suspected elder exploitation in Florida.
When it comes to online dating sites, one way to learn if Mr. or Ms. Wonderful is who they say they are is to request they capture a photo of themselves holding up today’s date, or a coffee mug, or thumb to nose, or a thumb’s up. But even after the person on the receiving end is confident their love interest looks the way they originally represented themselves, you’re not out of the water yet. An honest and accurate photo does not a well-intended love-interest make. And then again, if they misrepresented themselves in their image they may offer a fantastically plausible explanation. After all, that’s exactly what cons do best.
Fact: Love Is Kind; Falsehood: Love Is Blind
This Valentine’s Day do your best to defy the motto ‘love is blind’ by opening the eyes of the ones you care about. They may not thank you but their wallets will.