#datingscams | Why they can happen to you at any age

“So as we age, this gap grows between actual and perceived ability to make good decisions,” says Chris Heye, co-founder of Whealthcare Planning, a site that helps older adults and financial advisors plan for age-related changes.

Seniors who got answers wrong on a financial literacy quiz, but who were the most confident they answered correctly, were more likely to be victims of fraud, according to a study by researchers at DePaul University and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

People of any age can combat overconfidence by getting a second opinion on financial decisions from a trusted advisor or money-smart friend. As we get older, it can also make sense to consolidate our accounts so there are fewer to monitor and switch to investments that require less hands-on management, such as target date mutual funds.

Loneliness can be expensive

The Federal Trade Commission says romance scams cost people more money than any other type of consumer fraud in 2018. Reports of these scams more than doubled between 2015 and 2018, while reported losses more than quadrupled to $143 million.

The scams often start via dating apps, social media or email. The con artists pretend to have a lot in common with their victims, then build trust over many weeks or even months before asking their targets to reveal personal data or send money for an “emergency.”

Once again, the young and old alike can be defrauded. One 90-year-old victim met a man via email who, many months later, told her he needed help with a business deal. She sent him eight infusions of cash, draining her $500,000 life savings.

“She sent all that money, and the only reason she knew that it was a scam was that he didn’t show up on Christmas Day like he said he would,” Stokes says.

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