Watch Out For The Sweetheart Scam
A charming stranger approaches you, perhaps at a store, the library, a house of worship or some other social gathering. The stranger strikes up a conversation with you and quickly seems interested in spending time with you.
Beware: You may be a target of one of the cruelest and most emotionally devastating of all scams, the sweetheart scam.
To the perpetrator of a sweetheart scam, seniors make particularly appealing victims. That’s because the scam plays to the emotions of anyone who’s lonely, recently widowed, depressed or who otherwise craves positive interaction with another person. While the charming stranger pretends to be interested in you, all they’re really interested in is gaining your trust in order to financially exploit you. If you’re not careful, the sweetheart scam can leave a trail of broken hearts, drained bank accounts and shattered lives.
Sweetheart scam artists will profess their undying love and say and do anything to manipulate their way into the life of their victims. Once the victim is emotionally hooked, the con artist begins to isolate the victim from their family, friends, social life, even food and medical care. That’s when the exploitation begins. It can take many forms. It may include forging checks, selling valuables or hitting up the victim to pay for anything from personal expenses to car repairs. In extreme cases, the con artist may even get the victim to sign over the deed to their home.
With this scam, the promises of eternal love last only as long as there is money or property left to be exploited. Once the funds are depleted, the con artist will quickly depart, leaving the victim to feel deceived, swindled and embarrassed.
Sweetheart scams exact an emotional and financial toll that’s impossible to calculate. Don’t let it happen to you. Be cautious around anyone who suddenly comes into your life and seems overly eager to go out with you. Beware of anyone who asks for financial help soon after meeting you. They may be after more than your heart!