Senior dating scam photo

The growing popularity of online dating sites have spurred an increase in online romance scam artists. Unfortunately, fraudsters have capitalized on this trend and often create fake profiles to lure victims, establish relationships, and eventually, extort money. Regardless if you're male or female, younger or older, you should always exercise caution when utilizing popular dating sites, online meetup groups, or while perusing social media channels.

According to the Better Business Bureau, online romance scams have cost victims in the U.S. and Canada more than $1 billion over the last three years. Unfortunately, due to the perception of older Americans having untapped wealth and retirement funds, coupled with senior Americans' hesitation to report such scams to family or authorities, they're often a targeted group.

There are some ways to help verify if the individual you're speaking to online is legitimate and/or if you're being targeted in an online dating scam.

  • Conduct your own online research. Does the person's photo match what is in their profile or what they've sent to you? Can you find them online or on other sites? It's not uncommon for an online scammer to use someone else's photo(s) or identity to appear more enticing to their victims.
  • Is the person rushing you? Is the individual rushing you to take the conversation off of the dating site, or is he or she in a hurry to meet in person but then never actually does? They'll often arrange to meet in person but then an unforeseen "emergency" surfaces, and they're never truly able to meet.
  • Does the individual reside or work within the U.S.? Many of these scammers will fabricate their story to try and gain your trust and/or sympathy. Often, the scammer will indicate they are working overseas or live outside of the country, which is then used as a reason for needing money.
  • Has the individual asked you or a loved one for money, gift cards, or to make a wire transfer on their behalf? Be wary of anyone requesting any financial compensation or assistance from you. Regardless of how believable the reason is for needing your money, the chance is very high they're trying to scam you.
  • Does the person or the relationship sound too good to be true? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary, trust your instinct, and always take your time before proceeding with an unknown, online love interest.
  • Speak to someone you trust or your local banker. Before sending any funds, via wire, check, or gift cards, take the time to speak to someone you trust or your local banker to get their objective opinion. Often, our hearts want to believe in the good and trust in others. However, having an honest, second opinion on the situation can help shed light on what's potentially not a legitimate relationship.
    If you're concerned that you, a loved one, or someone you're caring for is being scammed or has been scammed, take the following precautions as soon as possible:
  • Don't be ashamed. If you've been a victim or someone you love has been a victim, don't be ashamed or embarrassed. Remember, these are professional criminals with countless hours of experience in tricking and scamming their victims.
  • Contact your Bank. Contact First Bank by calling the First Bank Service Center at 800-760-2265 right away if you think you or a loved one has sent money to a scammer.
  • Report it to the authorities. Report your experience to the online dating site and file a complaint to the FTC.

(Source: ABA, American Bankers Association)