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Retired Community Manager

Online Romance Scams

AARP's new 12-week podcast series The Perfect Scam, hosted by Will Johnson, former Discovery Channel podcast host/producer and leading fraud expert and AARP Fraud Watch Network Ambassador Frank Abagnale, profiles America's biggest scams through personal stories of scam victims and their families as well as interviews with professional con artists and leading experts on scams and fraud. Hear about how these scams happen and how to avoid them from those who know best.

 

This week's episode explores another online romance scam. Listen here and let us know what you think.

 

Have you or someone you know been a victim of this scam? Share your stories and any tips you have with us.

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Periodic Contributor

Do people really get scammed like this? I mean I could not relate to this because your own friends from the same college could be fake and trusting someone on the internet does not seem legit. And on top of that trusting them with money is just another kind of level for me. But as you said you got more than half your money back so I am glad for you. Please take care next time. Do not just lend money to anyone. Scams are such serious issue today that it's scary. Take care. Do not ever share  your bank details and personal details over the internet to anyone. This could land you in huge trouble.

Newbie

Most of this people claiming to be military personels on dating sites are scammers. You find them on every dating sites , also on instagram. I was involved in a romance scam that I lost a lot of money to the tune $500,000 . I advice you to always insist to see your alleged lover before any financial commitment. 

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Honored Social Butterfly

@EriksenN315913 - Why would you give ~$20,000 to someone in another country, whom you'd never met face-to-face? Why would you think that everyone in any country is honest; no country has a zero crime rate.


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Periodic Contributor

I believe it was ignorance on my path and also the dishonesty of the scameer that made me do that.

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Honored Social Butterfly

Forgive me for being this blunt, but it really takes a fool to give money to someone they've never met in real life! Even if I met someone IRL, I wouldn't be inclined to give them large sums of money like that, no matter what the reason. At this point in life, I'd be looking for someone who'd enhance my life, not be a "project" to be fixing & bailing out of problems.


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Honored Social Butterfly

@JohnS222247 - While it's wonderful that you got your money back, it would have been a lot better if you had done some due diligence before handing over such a large amount as $20K, in some unknown investment company! You mention "35% commission"; any large, reputable brokerage generally charges less than 3% commission on trades .. so 35% is a real red flag. Dangling a potential $1 million on a $20K investment is another red flag .. the higher the reward, the higher the risk .. and if it's that high, it may not even be possible or legitimate. People are "cunningly persuaded" by greed; the dream of an investment that yields many times more than the average good investment. The rule of thumb about investing is that if you don't understand how it works, don't invest your money in it! If your "advisor" doesn't understand how it works, run away quickly!


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Honored Social Butterfly

@ASTRAEA....Neither would I, but there are seniors who for whatever reason do not use good reasoning when looking for someone. I pray that my mind and instincts stay intact until the end, but we don't know how we will be. I see posters from time to time come here and think they can find someone and they give too much information and don't realize this is not a dating site if it states single in any way. I have one friend whose wife died and I think he was on a dating site very soon. Married someone and was taken big time. Another friend lost her husband and she thinks she is smart enough not to get taken, but she seems to always be meeting a new man on the site. I tried a site years ago and found some real pigs on there. The site would not let me put anything negative, so I left it like this. I have met the man of my dreams and am no longer available. As soon as we get an increase in our social security, we will meet and get to know one another more better. (That is one of the tell tell signs of a scammer). Until we can do this, he will continue his career as a senior Chippendale dancer and I will continue mine as a swimsuit model.
Honored Social Butterfly

@Soosie - I think some people are just more trusting (AKA gullible) than others, whether they're young or older. And people who've lost a spouse are often desperate not to be alone. BAD combination.

 

I've been single my whole life, and am very careful with people. I wouldn't hesitate to investigate what someone's told me about themselves & their situations; the stakes are very high! I periodically get "friend requests" from total strangers on Facebook; I delete them when it's obvious we have nothing in common. These scam artists often portray themselves in uniform in the middle east, with a flag nearby. Good way to avoid meeting someone, to say you're in the military & won't be back for years. A couple used the name/photos of famous generals .. one was married & had 5 kids. I couldn't imagine either would reach out to me!


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Honored Social Butterfly

I think a sad thing happened when AARP allowed a dating site to take over a community group. They are supposed to represent seniors in a positive way. Instead, they put some in a situation just like what your topic addresses. I did not join, but heard some stories about some who did. All of these dating sites have scam artists and shame on any group, especially one who is supposed to watch the welfare of seniors and then put that at risk.
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