Oklahoma City Police reported that elderly people are more likely to be scammed than ever before.
Scams always start out with the scammer asking for money, Oklahoma News 4 reported.
“There’s so many scammers out there that will get online and many of them tell very believable stories and they will meet people on these dating sites in hopes that they’re lonely and they will do just about anything to keep a connection with someone, including send them cash and you really fall right into their hands,” Gary Knight, an employee of the Oklahoma City Police Department, explained. (RELATED: TikTok CEO To Testify In Front Of Congress)
‘Will you send me money?’ Romance scams targeting elderly Oklahomans – one woman loses $56k https://t.co/4fXUkaACEB
— KFOR (@kfor) February 2, 2023
One victim in particular, an elderly woman, reportedly paid $56,000 through cashier checks, cash, and gift cards to an anonymous scammer she never met, the outlet noted. Many are reportedly approached by scammers on online services like Facebook Dating.
The police department suggests researching an online account user’s photo and profile before agreeing to meet. Additionally, police warn that if online users try to isolate you from your friends and family or ask for inappropriate photos or financial information, it‘s best to be suspicious, the outlet reported.
Patrick Allmond, a social media expert notes that it’s always better to meet the person in a public setting to lower the odds of being scammed.
“You really have no idea if that is your neighbor across the street or if that is somebody in another country. From the moment that you start this kind of communication mechanism, you should be skeptical that this person is not who they say they are, so that’s rule number one to me is just know that the Internet allows for some anonymity,” Allmond said, according to the outlet.
The Federal Trade Commision data shows that there were 2.8 million reports of fraud in 2021 with $5.8 billion stolen. Imposter and online shopping scams were the two most common forms of fraud.