By: Elizabeth K.B. DiPietrantonio, J.D.

My client base is full of fabulous women! The majority are over 60. A lot of them are widowed and divorced. Most of them are wealthy. As a very young widow myself I can understand just how confusing it is to suddenly find yourself single in the year 2019. The dating game has radically changed in the age of the iPhone. Potential love is waiting around the corner with every swipe.

Unfortunately, there are also many scammers looking to pry on those willing to be vulnerable and open their hearts to the internet. A lot of them are trying to get into your wallets and your investment accounts. I go above and beyond for my clients. Due to the nature of my business we are able to talk about a variety of personal things. The subject of dating has come up in countless meetings. Most of these ladies just want to find someone “halfway decent” for a conversation and a meal. That turns out to be harder than you think. I have become a bit of a vetting agent for my clients who are dating. I have taken dating photos, helped with profile language and even made a successful match. Fortunately, I have also been able to stop several potential disasters. You might ask why I would go to such lengths but keeping my clients away from scammers and catfish who want money seems critically important to me. Also, I am a hopeless romantic. Throughout my endeavors I have noticed a pattern emerge. Most of the scammers use the same patterns. I hope the below information can serve as a guide to those who are bravely putting themselves out there. I have mostly encountered these situations with women who are looking to date men but these patterns can really apply to anyone.

  1. They are overly enthusiastic. Remember these grifters eventually want you to send them money. The entire situation is a set up from the start. They come on strong immediately. The scammer generally makes professions of very strong feelings using flowery romantic language from the initial conversations. Their emails and messages are always very long. This can be hard to recognize as most people are just very excited that someone is so interested in them.
  2. There is something a little off about the language and direct questions often go unanswered. A word or two will usually be out of place. The sentence structure is choppy and wording often reversed.
  3. The scammer often has a job in which they travel often. The professions I have seen the most are gemologist, auctioneer, and jobs in oil. This is a set up to later explain why they are going to be on a trip. They will find themselves in a situation where there has been an oversees emergency and they need you to wire them funds.
  4. Nine times out of ten they are a widower. This makes them sympathetic and is created in order to let your guard down and garner affection.
  5. They generally have a child, often adopted and almost always overseas. Sometimes when money is asked for it is for the child and again gives a reason to be in another country. Another common reason for money is to bring the child to America.
  6. They have a phone number but often they don’t call at the correct times. These scammers even go so far as to talk on the phone and profess love. Sometimes they are reluctant about phone calls and often they will say they will call at a certain time and do not.
  7. Google helps but it’s not perfect. A lot of these people have created Facebook profiles and even websites about their jobs. Extensive research is needed.
  8. Don’t be afraid to fact check. One client met a man who claimed to work at Harvard so finally we called the University and nobody by his name was an actual employee.
  9. Request to meet in person. If they are reluctant and cancel more than once that is usually a good tip.
  10. Try not to get overly invested before meeting in person. Generally, it is better to meet in a public place as soon as possible. That way you can be sure you are talking to someone and giving your heart time and attention to someone who is real.
  11. Never ever give anyone your email or phone or bank passwords.
  12. Finally, never ever ever ever send money to someone you have not met. No matter how important the reason is. If the person is real and meant to be they won’t lose interest because you don’t send money. There is no emergency so great that they need your hard earned cash!

Be aware, be savvy, protect your wallet and your heart but don’t lose hope. There are good people out there dating on the internet you just have to sort through the bad ones!