Wall Street Journal Columnist Veronica Dagher penned a new article this week, “How to Avoid, Detect and Respond to Romance Scams.” The piece provides steps that readers can take to protect themselves (and their parents) from these fraudulent attacks, as well as things to do if the swindling has, unfortunately, already taken place.
As revealed by Dagher, so-called sweetheart scams cost victims nearly $120 million in the first half of 2016, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. How are these criminals finding success? “The fraudsters are ‘very adept at playing on the vulnerability of human emotions’…With some senior citizens, they are also playing on a lack of tech savvy.”
Dagher buckets the steps to avoid and address these scams, as follows:
1) Check the Connection
2) Check In With Your Parents
3) Check the Pressure
4) Report It
McManus & Associates Founding Principal John O. McManus is cited and quoted in the “Check In With Your Parents” and “Report It” sections. From the article:
“Stay in touch and call your parents often so that they don’t become vulnerable to scammers,” says John McManus, an attorney in New Providence, N.J., who has helped several senior citizens who were victims of fraud…If your parents do fall victim to a scam, show compassion, says Mr. McManus. Help them keep their dignity and understand that anyone can be wrongly manipulated at any age, he says.
Another key step in the process, per Dagher’s piece:
Report fraud to the local police department and file a police report immediately, says Mr. McManus. Documenting the fraud can help to dispute any account changes (even if it doesn’t result in prosecution), he says. The FBI has a website for filing internet-crime complaints.
Alert credit-card companies, banks and any other financial institutions where the victim has an account, Mr. McManus says. Check for suspicious activity on the victim’s credit report and review bank accounts, insurance policies and investments for changes in beneficiaries or account ownership, or to see whether loans have been taken against the policies, Mr. McManus says.
To read Dagher’s full story, click here. And for help with preventative measures that protect your and/or your parent’s assets from romance scams, reach out to McManus & Associates at 908.898.0100.