Learn About the Scam Targeting Lonely Seniors and How You Can Help

Learn About the Scam Targeting Lonely Seniors and How You Can Help

If you haven’t heard yet about the new scam targeting lonely seniors, be sure to read on to learn how to protect those you love.

Sadly, loneliness in older adults is quite common, for a variety of reasons. Mobility issues, chronic health conditions, and the loss of family and friends are all contributing factors. Yet humans are social creatures, and this lack of socialization has many seniors turning to online sources for connection – such as dating websites. While this may seem harmless or even beneficial, there can be hidden dangers for seniors specifically, known as sweetheart scammers. Here’s what to watch for to help keep those you love safe from the scam targeting lonely seniors:

  • Flattery that turns into requests for help with money. Financial gain is typically the sweetheart scammer’s main objective. The scammer will use a number of techniques to achieve that end goal, such as focusing on weak spots like loneliness. Flattering, praising, and professing undying love and affection for a senior loved one the scammer has never met often progresses into a request for funds.
  • Overwhelming attention. The scammer will focus on an older adult’s vulnerability and loneliness, lavishing continual attention. Pay attention to your loved one to determine exactly how much time is being spent on texts and conversations with the person. You’ll also want to note if the person is declaring his or her love for the senior, particularly early in the relationship. Scammers move quickly to get to their end goal as soon as possible.
  • No online presence. A quick Google search for the senior’s new love interest will help you determine if the individual is legitimate. Should your search produce no information whatsoever in regards to the person, it should instantly raise a red flag. You can run a background check to discover any criminal convictions, marriage/divorce certificates, as well as other public information.
  • A fake photo. Google offers a reverse image search feature (Google.com/images) that enables you to determine if the person’s profile picture is actually a stock photo or stolen from somebody else.

You might also want to give some thought to logging in to your loved one’s email account to monitor activity and help the senior discern between actual relationships and scammers.

What Can You Do to Protect Loved Ones From a Scam Targeting Lonely Seniors?

First and foremost, talk to the senior about the prevalence of online sweetheart scams. Take notice of your loved one’s description of his/her new love interest and how the relationship is developing. Point out any warning signs and help the senior be aware of the danger she or he could possibly be facing.

As an award-winning provider of in-home care in Santa Rosa, CA and the surrounding areas, Hired Hands Homecare is also here to help with safe, trusted caregivers to provide seniors with the cheerful companionship that alleviates isolation, loneliness, and desperation. Give us a call at (866) 940-4343 for a free assessment to find out more about our home care for older adults.

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