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Cyber-Savvy Tips from Schwab

Break up with the Romance Scam

A young woman in a green skirt and yellow top is standing and gestures toward an older woman in a blue skirt and green top, who is sitting.

Young woman: Online scammers are constantly trying to take advantage of people like my mom.

Older woman: But we’re too smart for that.

The younger woman now appears within a frame representing a computer screen. On the screen is a chat window labeled “Senior Dating.” A small picture of the mom is labeled “SassyGranny,” while a larger picture of an older, bald man in glasses is labeled “Fred Realman.” In the chat area, SassyGranny has entered “Want to meet for coffee?”

Young woman: One of the most common is the Romance Scam. Older people can get roped in by chatting online if they’re looking for companionship.

In the frame, the mom takes the place of the young woman, and in the chat window, Fred responds, “I’d love to!”

Older woman: At first, it’s all lovey-dovey.

The mom drops away and the young woman pops into view. In the chat window, Fred adds, “But I can’t, I’m overseas.”

Young woman: They want to meet up. But if they have an excuse or need money to meet, that’s the first red flag.

She holds up a small red flag.

The older woman replaces the young woman in the frame, and additional chat from Fred appears: “I need funds... Can you send money for a ticket?”

Older woman: Next thing you know, they’re asking for money for “travel expenses.”

She makes “air quotes” with her fingers.

Young woman: That’s the second red flag.

She holds up another red flag.

The frame goes away and the two women are standing next to each other.

Older woman: And that’s when it’s time break up your online romance.

The frame briefly reappears, and a large red “X” is drawn over the picture of Fred Realman. Then the two women are back.

Young woman: If they ask for money...

The older woman waves goodbye.

Older woman: ...It’s time to say, “Bye-bye, honey.”

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