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Perhaps taking advantage of peoples’ loneliness during covid, romance scamsters increased their known operations by 16.5% from 2020 to 2021. There are many scams which victims keep secret. Some people are embarrassed. Others are blackmailed by their perpetrators.

Any suspected scam should be reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Most victims appear to be found on Match.com or PlentyofFish. While some scamsters are solos, more work in pairs or are members of gangs, some traveling and some international. Some operate call centers with daily quotas. Fake photos, well-plotted step-by-step approaches and scripts are standard.

While numerically, many women in their 30s, 40s and 50s are targeted, financially most of the haul comes from deceiving people in their 70s: men looking for a sweet caregiver and college-educated women.

Beware of these red flags

Anyone who is interested in you is interested in meeting your friends and family and doing things with them and with you in person. If they start using “us” and “we” before then, “love bombing,” you are likely to be left with a financial explosion and nothing but pain to show for it.

Anyone who is interested in you will not ask for money. If that is what a new “friend” asks for, that is what he is interested in – not you.

 

Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

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