Sweetheart Scams

Posted on 02/06/23

Discover how to protect yourself when online dating.

Dating and social media websites have become one of the most popular ways for people of all ages to connect with new friends and potential love interests. While many people have good intentions when meeting people online, scammers also commonly use these sites and apps (ex. Facebook, Instagram, Words with Friends, etc.) to obtain money, gifts or personal information. 

When meeting people online, it is important that you always consider the possibility that the person you are chatting with is not who they claim to be. The following are some “red flags” to help determine if the person who you are chatting with might a criminal trying to take your money:

  • You are asked to send money, purchase gift cards, send goods (like a phone or computer) or even open a bank account before meeting in person.
  • They are contacting you from thousands of miles away, have inconsistent information in their profile and/or they have an unrealistic photo.
  • You are asked to move the conversation outside of the dating website to a messenger app (like Hangouts or WhatsApp), phone, text or email.
  • They ask you for personal information such as your bank account, credit card number or Social Security number.
  • They express strong emotions right away.

If you recognize any of these warning signs or suspect unusual behavior, report it to the website’s administrator and cease all communication immediately. If you have any questions, contact an AARP ElderWatch volunteer for information and assistance. 

Call Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. 800-222-4444 Option 2

This story is provided by AARP Colorado. Visit the AARP Colorado page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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