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Middle Aged Women: A Growing Target for Scammers

Middle Aged Women: A Growing Target for Scammers

Most of the cases of romance scamming reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center last year come from women in their fifties, but the most surprising figure is the amount of losses: women in this age group lost an approximate of $34 million, which represents 61% of all losses resulting from the reported romance scams. International private investigators estimate that the real losses may be ten times as much due to the fact that most victims never report their cases.

What makes middle aged women so vulnerable? In most cultures, women are raised to be very conscious about their safety. They are constantly warned of an innumerable amount of threats that could endanger their lives.  However, most of the warnings fail in three aspects.

First of all, as women grow older the security measures start decreasing. Safety education is focused on young ladies, but the security issues do not disappear with time, we just assume that being a grown up makes it easier to handle danger and makes you less of a target. This may not be accurate.

The second assumption is that women need to be cautious of their lives and security, but there can be less education on their finances.  American society is having a transformation in which women are becoming the breadwinners and they are starting to out-earn men.  With such a transformation, women should be more cautious than ever when it comes to managing their assets and savings, especially when we bring into the picture a special kind of threat: fake Romeos.

Lastly, research has found that online dating scams have a higher tendency within individuals who tend to idealize romantic partners. Warning efforts are insufficient when culturally women are brought up to think there is a prince charming waiting for them somewhere in the world, and the internet offers them a chance to “accomplish” the goal of finding him.

How to spot the red flags

International private investigators say there is usually a pattern that romance scammers follow. The common things women look for (or feel attracted to) are consequently the features you will find on a male scammer profile. Therefore, be alert of the following red flags:

  1. Women look for men who share important things in common with them. Scammers use the information in social media profiles and the things victims mention online to find a way to match stories. Similar life experiences, like divorces or widowing will suit well.
  2. Women like successful men. High-paying jobs and fancy positions are important for women, so scammers will often impersonate a successful businessman, who might be temporarily needing financial assistance. Once the criminal gains a victim’s trust, the deal is done.
  3. Being sensitive and caring is another plus. Usually online romance scammers say they have children and show themselves as caring parents, or they participate in some kind of charity or social program. A lot of the money requests a scammer does are under the excuse of helping someone in need, or giving a loved one something they deserve. The truth is that regardless of the excuse, the money goes to a criminal’s pocket. If he seems too good to be true, hire an online dating verification as soon as possible!
  4. Women like men who commit. Romance scammers manipulate their victims by making them believe they are involved in his life. The bad news is that being committed (in this particular case) requires women to provide cash or information, or access to their computers or phones. Internet scammers are successful because victims trust them even if they have never met their alleged romantic partner in person and know little about them. Unfortunately, we all know the end to the story.

When dating online, be cautious! Especially if you belong to a vulnerable and frequently targeted group like middle aged women. Get professional help to uncover the evidence you need, even before any suspicions arise.  If you meet someone online, verify first, and then decide.

C. Wright
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