sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

5 Ways to Safeguard Your Heart in the World of Online Romance Scams

By Michelle Hill November 28, 2023 Dating

I’m going to start this article with my vulnerability hanging out. There’s no bra that holds vulnerability in and no underwire that can prop it up. It’s scary, and yes, my shoulders are a bit above my chin right now. But there’s strength in vulnerability so let’s tackle the tough topic of romance scams that hits many women 60 and above in the core of our heart and in our pocketbook.

I know what I’m talking about when it comes to relationship deception, particularly romance scams. I’m a survivor of not one but two relationship deceptions; one online financial romance scam way back in the early 2000s when I was first divorced after a long-term marriage, and another more recent one came out of nowhere in person at the gym. Something didn’t feel right almost from the beginning, and that’s why it had a short two-month shelf life.

The Bait of Online Romance

When women enter their sixth decade, we’re often divorced or widowed, and loneliness can wedge its way into our daily journey. Then it happens. A friend or family member suggests we go online to “see what’s out there.” They love us and their motives are pure. They may want to see us find love again.

We take the bait.

We create our profile and wait for clicks, likes, hearts, and messages. Some do find love. Others find long-lasting friendships as I have. And still others find companions to go places with and with whom to simply spend time together.

Beacon of Hope and Potential Minefield

For women who have witnessed the beauty and complexities of life for six glorious decades and more, it’s vital to navigate the digital realm with the same wisdom and discernment we apply to every other aspect of our lives.

In a world where technology connects us across continents, online romance has become both a beacon of hope and a potential minefield. The sweet whispers of love, the thrill of a new connection, and the promise of companionship can be captivating. However, as we wade into the digital waters, it’s crucial to safeguard our hearts against the rising tide of romance scams.

There are five primary ways to safeguard your heart (and pocketbook) in the world of online romance.

#1. Trust Your Instincts

Lots of sweet talk often precedes a scam. These charmers, masked behind eloquent words and charming profiles, know how to create a fairy tale out of thin air. Ladies, trust your instincts, your women’s intuition, your gut. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Your intuition, refined by years of life experiences, is a powerful guide.

Personal Story

When I was first navigating the seas of online dating, I was swept off my feet by a handsome man who seemed like a dream. He wowed me with compliments and attention and professed his desire to marry. He was in the investment world and said he was securing our future. Unfortunately, his securing our future meant using my credit card for several large purchases.

At the time, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and I didn’t trust my instincts – I was so enthralled, I was blind to the tactics of a romance scammer. When a co-worker instantly spotted his façade, he knew the gig was up. He sat in my living room on the phone with his next target, planning their meeting.

The next day I took him to the airport, never to hear from him again. That was $2,500 later. He swindled the attorney before me for $18k and at this writing has been married five times and has had countless girlfriends.

#2. Guard Your Personal Information

In the dance of online connection, it’s crucial to guard your personal information as if it were a rare treasure. Scammers often use enticing stories to prompt you to reveal sensitive details. Whether it’s financial information or your home address, keep these treasures close to your heart. Don’t share how much you make, where you work, or hint that you have any financial assets.

In the documentary The Tinder Swindler, the featured women shared stories about willingly sharing their personal information with the perpetrator after he had established trust. Remember, the scenario must be set up first, thus love bombing to hook you in BEFORE the ask.

#3. Verify, Verify, Verify

In the world of online romance, verification is your shield. Before allowing someone into the sacred spaces of your heart, take the time to verify their identity. Ask questions, video chat, and if something feels off, don’t hesitate to do a little detective work. A legitimate connection will withstand the scrutiny. Use online tools like or (reverse image search) to check out the person to see if they’re who they say they are. If not, run for the hills with no further communication.

#4. Community Connection

The aftermath of a romance scam can make a woman feel isolated and embarrassed. I know that’s how I felt after I realized I had been duped. It was humiliating to have to go back to the people I shared my new romance with and tell them it wasn’t real.

The harsh reality is that a few people will judge you and think less of you – after all, they are smug in their belief that they would NEVER fall for something like that. They are not your friends. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone.

Share your experiences with safe, nonjudgmental people within your circle. The collective wisdom of a safe circle of women is a powerful force against the darkness of deception. Women can support and protect one another, but we must be vulnerable enough to share our story.

#5. Educate Yourself

Knowledge is your greatest ally. Stay informed about the red flags. Attend webinars, read articles, and participate in discussions. The more we educate ourselves, the better equipped we are to navigate the intricate dance of online romance safely. This is different from a “there’s a monster lurking behind every face” mentality, which is based more on paranoia. Educating yourself is all about personal and financial safety.

Nurturing Our Hearts

Your heart is a precious garden, worthy of love, respect, and nurturing. Plant these safeguards within your mind and heart so you can cultivate an environment where genuine connections can blossom. If you suspect you’re being love bombed by an online romance predator, tell someone immediately. Look out for the favorite lies of online predators.


Let’s Have a Conversation:

Are you or someone you know a survivor of a romance scam, narcissistic abuse, or other relationship deception? What have you found beneficial to help you heal and move on? How would you come alongside another woman to comfort her amid her emotional devastation?

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Diane Weaver

I met a grandparent age man online about 12 years ago who lived in my town. His wife had had a long illness and had died. He wanted a beautiful shapely 20-30 year old woman and had already started sending money to online scammers. I suggested we could be friends since he already had a love interest online and I am not a shapely 20-30 year old like he wanted. Zoom forward many years and the creditors were on him. He had to sell his home fast and most of his possessions. It is an addiction and he was not able to get recovery. I said what I could as a friend but addiction requires professional help.

Michelle Hill

What you have described reminds me of the proverb by John Heywood in1546, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” It’s a sad reality that the people who give money to scammers must pay that money back. I’m so sorry your online friend is addicted to giving money to a scammer. You’re right, there’s only so much we can do as a friend.

Ciara Roots

It’s sad that so many older people get duped by what they believe is a beautiful or handsome young person. I’m in my 70s–I know a 20-something guy would NOT be interested in me. I’m hoping to meet someone who watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan in real time, who remembers where they were when JFK was assassinated, and who anxiously awaited the reading of the draft lottery numbers at the height of the Viet Nam war.

It’s a shame that the man you met didn’t give you a chance. He’d be in much better circumstances than he is now. It’s likely that unless he met the woman in person, she probably didn’t even exist. Scammers are very sophisticated.


If we have reached 60 years of age, we are actually entering our SEVENTH decade of life. 🙂

Susan Kolb

If you don’t have a lot of emotional intelligence, make sure you have a friend who does – and LISTEN to them.

Michelle Hill

Oh gosh, yes, Susan! That is SO true!

Lisa Stege

The way I protect myself on dating sites is simple:
I state right up front that I will not give out my personal information (email address or phone number) until I meet someone in person. You DO NOT know who is really communicating with you until you meet them. I meet for lunch, not coffee and NEVER a(n alcoholic) drink.
I do not believe that “long distance” relationships can exist. (and who would be the one to move?) I have had plenty of first dates, and some that have carried over into longer duration and friendships as well. I concentrate on on having a good and happy life, regardless of whether I have a partner or not. I will not remarry; I think that there are too many pitfalls, especially legal aspects.

Michelle Hill

Lisa, you are SO right, you never know who you’re talking to. Scammers use fake profile pics to present themselves in a certain light. Pursuing a “good and happy” life is the goal, whether married or not, so you have it exactly right.


I can think of 4 couples I know who lived very far apart when they first met (online). From a couple hours’ drive to an airplane flight apart. Yes, one person always did end up relocating to be with the other. But considering how few people we can fall deeply in love with, why rule out someone over this? It has challenges, especially in the beginning. But with the right person, it’s clearly worth it. Obviously you have to be able to sniff out a scammer and not be drawn into it.
I also don’t give out personal info until I’ve seen a guy a couple times. And I always use a burner number (such as Google voice) until I know a guy for a while. It’s very easy for someone to find your house if they have your real phone number. I know a woman who had a stalker (from a dating site) who found her house. What’s really scary is he didn’t even have her phone number, he only had her first name (a common one), her age, and town (a large city). Yet incredibly, he found her house. I even tell men in our first convo that I use a burner number, how he responds is very revealing. I’ve gotten mostly positive responses – many men understand, they’ve had an ex, a sister, a daughter who’s been harassed or stalked. If a man lacks empathy over this issue (my desire to be safe) he has just ruled himself out for me- I won’t waste my time. BTW men with daughters always “get it.”

Michelle Hill

Thank you for your comment, Jan. Your “burner number” idea makes a lot of sense. With so many investigative sites, someone can easily find info on another person. It feels kinda creepy that it’s so easy.

As far as a long-distance relationship, I agree that it’s still possible for it to be successful but one must know at the onset that a relocation will be necessary for one person if they believe the relationship has a future. If a man is willing to relocate to where the woman lives, she must “require” that he sets himself up in the new city with his own apartment and not invite him to move in with her. No self-respecting man would do that, but that’s my opinion. As Dr. John Delony says, “Behavior is a language.” Time will tell if a person is the real deal.

Ciara Roots

Great suggestions! And good for you for playing it safe!

Ciara Roots

You sound like my sister from another mister. I don’t even use my real name until I feel comfortable sharing it.

Renee Lovitz

I have always been weary of going online to find a partner and I still feel that way. I don’t trust that process.

Michelle Hill

Thank you for your comment, Renee, there are horror stories galore from online dating, but I’ve also heard of many success stories. I used to work with a gal who found her spouse on a popular dating site and they’ve been happily married for 25+ years. I’ve been online on and off through the years but I won’t go on again.

The Author

Michelle Hill is a Relationship Deception Recovery Mentor specializing in helping women reach healing and wholeness after relationship deception. She is also the author of 5 books, including The Heart Swindler-Reclaim Your Heart and Stop Falling for Liars, Losers, and Lunatics, and two award-winning children’s books.

You Might Also Like