How to Avoid Falling Victim to a Scam (Part 1)

Updated: Feb 28, 2019

Widows are often the target of scams, because scammers see their loss as an opportunity to profit off of their fragile emotional state. Whether it's the Sweetheart Scam, Tax ID Theft or Fake IRS calls, we want to help you protect yourself from frauds with bad intentions. In this blog, we'll discuss how to spot a scam and how to protect yourself before scammers even try to target you. Part 1 offers an introduction to the types of scams, and part 2 will discuss the scams in greater detail.

Types of Scams that Target Widow(er)s

Sweetheart Scam

This scam involves a potential "love-interest" attempting to build a (fake) relationship with their victim, so they can prey on them for financial gain. These scammers use the illusion of love & the promise of a blossoming relationship to manipulate their victims into transferring money to their personal bank accounts.

Oftentimes, scammers will reach out using fake profiles of highly-attractive people to peak initial interest. The perpetrator may "catfish" the victim by sending illegitimate photos and providing false-details about their personal lives to build a connection. Other scammers might send genuine photos and may even offer to video chat, but they're "faking" the emotional connection in order to profit. The difference between this scam and other scams, is that the perpetrator is "in it for the long haul" (or rather, "in it for the big bucks") and they dedicate weeks, months or even years to build up trust & facilitate romantic feelings.

The scammers usually email, direct message or call their victims daily and continue the illusion for a long period of time so they can continue to receive big payouts. The relationship will begin like any other, where the perpetrator will share details about their private life, their fears, their secrets...but eventually, they'll come up with a story about a major problem in their life-- and they'll ask for a large sum of money.

Obviously, the victim cares for their new love interest, so they'll want to send money to help them in their time of need. If the victim believes that their significant other will lose their home because they're unable to afford rent, or if they think that they'll no longer able to text or call because their S/O can't afford the phone bill, then the vic