Watch Out For This Dating Scam Targeting Seniors


The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says a dating scam has surfaced in the last few months that targets seniors.

The scam involves a dating service that promises to make a relationship “match” between two people – but ends up taking thousands of dollars from seniors attempting to use the service.

The scammers have sent out mailings to various retirement communities advertising their “match-making” service. But before making a match, the service demands that seniors turn over their Social Security number and other personal information.

Here’s the story of one senior who was targeted, told by the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

In late December, the BBB received a call from a resident of a retirement community in Henrico County, [Virginia], who reported that she recently received a mailing from a supposedly local dating service and she believed that all residents of the community may have received the same mailing.

She told the BBB that several calls she made to the dating service for more information produced little except a request for her Social Security number, reportedly for purposes of a background check. Concerned about giving this personal information, the senior citizen called the BBB’s Senior Fraud Line.

The resident told the BBB she had previously made an appointment to meet a representative of the company and had been advised to “bring her checkbook and credit card” to the appointment. Once the appointment was canceled, the senior shared with the BBB that she received numerous high-pressure calls over the weekend encouraging her to “be more trusting” and make another appointment to enroll in the service.

The BBB warns people not to give out personal financial information when signing up for a dating service. The BBB gave further advice on being careful when signing up for a dating service:

* Research the company’s background at bbb.org.

* Read the contract and fine print. Be sure the contract outlines payment plans, length of contract and refund and cancellation policies in case you are dissatisfied with the service. Some dating services charge a flat rate, while others offer a la carte pricing.

* Select a service that enforces high standards of behavior. Request in writing what guidelines the company follows in screening applicants. Does the service conduct a thorough background check of each applicant?

* Explore the company’s website. Carefully review the privacy policy to see how personal information is protected.


Photo by  Martin Cathrae via Flickr CC License

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