Women over 40 most vulnerable to the FBI’s top reported scam last year;
Who’s Watching Grandma?
We talk a lot about online dating scams here at BV and that’s no coincidence. As a company that started with the goal of building trust among different parties online, romance scams were one of a number of problems we wanted to help our customers avoid. Unfortunately, since we first covered this topic years ago, online dating and romance scams have only grown more successful as online dating as a whole has gained popularity.
Confirmation of this came recently from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The IC3 report noted that online romance scams were the leading drivers of Internet fraud in 2014, with victims being cheated out of a whopping total of over $800 million, or about $14,000 per victim on average.
NBC News pointed out that women over the age of 40 were by far the most likely demographic to be swindled out of their money while having their hearts broken shortly thereafter. Despite men making up a larger percentage of online fraud victims as a whole, 70% of all romance scam victims in 2014 were women over the age of 40.
The fact that older, single women are preyed upon disproportionately is understandable when one of the most common and successful romance scams involves con artists impersonating members of the military, often using the occupation as a convincing reason for not being able to meet their romantic interest and soon-to-be victim in person.
The report makes clear that younger people seem less susceptible to such romance scams online, and loneliness bred from old age and isolation in particular has always been a key ingredient for vulnerability to such scams.
So while you may be OK, when is the last time you checked in with your Grandma or Grandpa, Mom or Dad?
If you’re worried about whom they are chatting with online, then share the tips with her at the end of this article and take steps to help her verify the identities and locations of any new and unfamiliar online “friends.”
The success of this breed of online romance scams clearly shows its effectiveness at fooling a broad range of people across America. If you don’t think it can happen to someone you know and love, are you willing to bet $14,000 on it?