Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Retirees Are Losing Their Life Savings to Romance Scams. Here’s What to Know.

ValentinesRomance Scams have become increasingly popular in recent years as scammers profit from the loneliness that many felt during COVID-19 lockdowns and beyond. Romance scams claimed $139 million from adults aged 60 and older in 2020 alone. This figure was up $84 million from 2019.

Scammers often reach out via social networking sites, claiming to be a professional working abroad. They establish a bond, build an imaginary future with their victim, and then plan an in-person meeting if the victim is willing to give them money. 

“I’ve seen elders mortgage their houses, borrow large sums of money from their neighbors, empty their retirement accounts,” said Michael Delaney, a Chicago-based lawyer who specializes in elder law.

While young people are susceptible to online scams, older people are more likely to be the target of a romance scam simply because they are likely to have more money. The median loss from a romance scam is $9,000.

The F.T.C. sued Match Group in 2019, alleging that the company allowed fraudsters to disguise themselves on platforms like Match.com, Tinder, and Hinge. A federal court in Texas dismissed the claim, and Match Group responded by running a public awareness campaign to help users identify red flags.

For more information see Emily Schmall “Retirees Are Losing Their Life Savings to Romance Scams. Here’s What to Know,” The New York Times, Februrary 3, 2023.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.


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