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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 truepeoplesearch.com or socialcatfish.com (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.
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.
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.
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.
Want more information? Read SCARED OF ONLINE DATING SCAMS? USE THESE TIPS!
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?
Tags Senior Dating Advice