A common scam targeting senior citizens had major implications for one Indianapolis man.
A 71-year-old man, who chose to remain nameless, told local news station Fox 59 that he met a stranger from Germany on Facebook and developed a relationship with the individual over a nine-month period. Wanting to get to know this new person in his life, he inquired about meeting her. The con artist then convinced the older man to wire her money for food, transportation, hotels, and more. The man sent this person money in increments of $2,000, $5,000, and $10,000, sending over $80,000 in total before realizing it was a scam. He then notified the police.
It might seem unlikely for a scam like this to affect the elders in your own life, but the Better Business Bureau tells another story. According to the BBB’s president and CEO Tim Maniscalo, these types of scams are known as “romance scams.”
“We think there’s in the neighborhood of a million people across the country annually that might be taken by this scam,” he said.
Tim explained that these scammers take advantage of lonely individuals, typically over the age of 55: “We see mostly people in the 50s, 60s, and 70s that fall for this scam. A lot of times these are people who may have lost their partner in life, they’re feeling lonely, and the scammers prey on that emotion.”
Romance scammers will constantly find new reasons why they need a little more money. To avoid falling prey, Tim recommends never sending money to an individual you haven’t met in real life. He also encourages reporting these scams if you fall prey to one, although he acknowledges these things often go unreported because individuals are embarrassed to have been tricked.
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