The Villages Voice - October 2014

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Seniors vs. Crime - Heartbreak Scams

by Bryan Lifsey

HEARTBREAK SCAMS.  BEWARE!!! If you are single you may be a prime target for a current “Scam”.  This Scam concerns matters of the heart and your bank account. Seniors Vs Crime has been made aware of numerous seniors who have fallen victim to these scammers.  Florida seems to be their hunting ground and Villagers are one of their primary targets. You may meet them (these heartbreak scammers) at the one of the town squares, grocery stores, on websites, shopping malls, coffee & donut shops or other public places.  Rarely do you meet them through a good friend. They present themselves as upstanding citizens, polite, religious, well groomed, well-mannered, and smooth talkers.  They will tell you how attractive or handsome you are and that they would like to get to know you better over a cup of coffee.  Normally one of their story lines is that they are widowers or divorcees and have not had a date in years.  They explain how strange it feels to ask you to have coffee with them.  You of course being single, lonely and alone can relate, and you accept the invitation. After a few of these innocent ‘dates’ they hold the roadmap to your heart, and desperately want the strings to your purse and your bank account.  MANY SUCCEED! Don’t fall victim to this scam.  Don’t be the male or female ‘Nurse With A Purse’. To assist you in avoiding this scam, watch out for any of these warning signs:
  • Complementing you all the time.
  • Using words of endearment.
  • Staying at your house - never at theirs.
  • Meeting your friends, you never meet theirs.
  • Finding fault with your friends.
  • Bringing clothes over to your house and leaving them there, slowly moving in, but NEVER contributing to household expenses.
  • Eating, cooking and doing laundry at your house.
  • Having you pay for all dinners, gas, trips, and grocery bills as they always have a cash flow problem.
  • Using your car most of the time.
  • Needing money to start a business.
  • Accepting only cash, as it leaves no paper trail.
If you lend them money give them a check clearly marked “Loan”.  If it is a sizable amount have an attorney prepare a loan agreement. In a short period of time they may propose marriage.  If they do, be sure to consult an attorney who is very familiar with Florida law and preferably one who is Elder Law board certified.  Alimony payments, residual shared pensions, investments, medical insurance, a will passing your estate as you desire, and a host of other issues may make marriage or re-marriage a complicated affair fraught with unintended financial consequences.  Understand all the implications fully before jumping into a marriage. An attorney may suggest a prenuptial agreement.  If the “new love of your life” refuses to sign this prenup, don’t walk away from the relationship – RUN AWAY!  They will try and convince you that they would never ask this of you.  True, probably because they have nothing.  They may be renters living month to month.  Or just plain greedy and want YOUR MONEY. Once you stop paying for everything they will quickly move on to someone else.  They have no moral compass, and are very slippery. Don’t be their next victim. If they stalk, harass or threaten you, call the police. The difference between a wise person and a fool is “a wise person learns from other’s mistakes, the fool learns from his own”. Be the WISE PERSON and learn from Senor Vs Crime’s articles and presentations. Don’t you be taken in by a Heartbreak Scam.  No one will watch out for your interests better than YOU.  When in doubt as to whether you’re a scam target or not, you can always contact your local Seniors Vs. Crime office for advice or assistance. There is never a charge for their services.  Seniors Vs. Crime can be reached at 352-753-7775 at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, 352-689-4600, Extension 4606 at the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, or 352-750-1914 at the Wildwood Police Annex in Brownwood.  Volunteers’ at all three offices are ready, willing and able to assist you.  To keep up with the latest scams, LIKE ‘Seniors vs. Crime Region 4’ on Face Book. Bryan Lifsey, Office Manager Seniors Vs. Crime