As unconscionable as it might seem to most people, scammers and con artists often target elderly people with their schemes. These predators know that many elderly people are lonely and too trusting for their own good.
An Australian man, who has been identified only as "Robert," was a recent victim.
Robert met a woman on an online dating site and started what he believed to be a relationship. The woman was going to visit him and if everything worked out, she would apply for a visa to stay in Australia.
Then, she slowly began asking Robert for small sums of money.
Before Robert got wise to the scam, he had emptied his savings and taken out a reverse mortgage on his home. Over the course of two years he gave the woman $300,000 without ever having met her in person.
The West Australian reported this story in "Grandfather scammed out of $300,000 by online 'girlfriend'."
One major problem is that once the money is gone, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get it back. This is true in Australia and in the U.S.
Potential victims need to be made aware that they are getting conned before they give any money to the con artist.
One thing elderly people can do, if they are not sure whether they are being scammed, is to talk with an elder law or estate planning attorney. The attorneys have seen the same scams run over and over again and have the experience to recognize them again.
Reference: West Australian (Jan. 27, 2016) "Grandfather scammed out of $300,000 by online 'girlfriend'