Romance and online dating scams are prevalent all year round as readers of this blog are aware. However, since romance scams tend to target lonely, older women, it goes to follow that the holiday season could potentially amp up the vulnerability of this group to predators.
If you’re afraid that your mother or grandmother could be vulnerable to such a con, here is a list of pointers to consider and share with them just in time for the holidays:
Romance scams are limitless
Once a con artist has a victim hooked, the audacity of their requests for money and gifts can be virtually unlimited, until the victim has parted with her life savings or even her home.
Holidays can provide scam artists fresh excuses
Con artists are creative with their requests for money. Common excuses include those related to travel hardships, tax or customs fees, or bail money after an unfortunate incident abroad. The holiday season, with promises of gifts and travel, can add new excuses for money requests when victims might feel more generous or vulnerable than usual.
Knowledge Isn’t Always Power
Many romance scams are marked by the ongoing concern and knowledge of family members. Knowing that an elderly relative is potentially being scammed isn’t enough to stop it in and of itself. One must have a plan, and keeping open lines of communication with other family members and the police can be crucial in preventing further losses.
A good first step to help prevent romance scams is to stay in touch with family members, know what’s going on in their lives and help to alleviate any unneeded loneliness, if possible.