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Quest for love, companionship never ends, and neither do scams

by Emily Koelsch | Contributor
July 10, 2020

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People of all ages need love, intimacy and companionship. Love plays an important role in happiness, quality of life and overall well-being, yet finding love can be particularly difficult for adults over 65. The good news, however, is that there have never been more ways for seniors to find love. Taking advantage of some of these new opportunities, while also being knowledgeable about potential scams and frauds, can help seniors to safely find love and companionship for their retirement years.

How can seniors find love?

While love is essential at all ages, it is often harder for older adults to find love. An AARP report found that 45% of Americans over 65 are divorced, separated or widowed. Plus, the most common way for individuals to meet people is through friends. Older adults generally have a smaller friend pool, and those who are divorced or widowed often find that their friend pool is all married couples. To exacerbate this issue, older adults often don’t go out as much, have concerns about stereotypes of aging and dating or can be reluctant to date after losing a spouse.

The result is that many older adults are looking for partners but have trouble finding them. The encouraging news is that there are plenty of ways for seniors to meet friends and partners. Here are some effective ways for adults over 65 to find love.

Online dating sites or apps

One of the biggest changes to the dating scene in recent years is the rise in online dating and matchmaking. Online dating sites or apps are a good way to address some common issues for seniors who are less mobile, go out less or don’t socialize with other singles. These sites offer an opportunity to connect with other single adults who are also looking for love. Plus, there are many online sites that specifically cater to older adults, making this more comfortable for many seniors. Some popular online dating options for seniors include:

Online dating sites or mobile apps for seniors

Senior centers or community centers

Many community centers and senior centers offer classes, activities, celebrations and other social events. These events present good opportunities to meet other seniors that share some common interests. Joining a senior center or a local community center can offer a great opportunity to socialize, to make friends and to even find love. Plus, they provide a great outlet for classes, hobbies, and staying active.

Senior living communities

Seniors living in retirement communities or senior living communities have unique opportunities to find partners. These communities often have dinners, recreational activities and community events, all of which give seniors a chance to socialize and meet people. Individuals in these communities should take advantage of the many opportunities to meet someone and to find love.

Neighborhood activities and events

For adults more comfortable with traditional styles of meeting people, there are plenty of opportunities for that. Getting out in your neighborhood – whether going to the dog park, participating in celebrations or events, or going to local stores – can be an effective way to meet new people.

What about romance scams and fraud?

Many people are wary about online dating because of the rise of romance scams, and this concern is not misplaced. Federal Trade Commission reports show a sharp and concerning rise in cases of online romance fraud over the last five years. In 2015, there were 8,500 complaints of romance scams, and the number increased in 2019 to 25,000 complaints. What’s even more concerning is how underreported this crime is, as the victims are often embarrassed and too ashamed to report the fraud.

Romance scams can impact people of all ages, but they disproportionately impact seniors. While romance scams are a very real problem, the fear of these scams should not deter older adults from seeking out love, even in online forums. Instead, adults of all ages should be aware of common fraud patterns and warning signs. Being cognizant of the risks and of ways to avoid these scams can make online dating a safe and fun experience.

How do you avoid romance scams?

The best way to avoid online romance scams is to be aware of some of the common patterns and warning signs. The FTC resources warn that there is often a predictable pattern followed and that individuals should be wary about people on dating sites that:

  1. Profess love quickly.
  2. Are unable to meet in person, usually due to distance, an out-of-town job assignment or being overseas. The FTC reports that some common explanations for being unable to meet in person are working on an oil rig, serving in the military or being a doctor working with an international organization.
  3. Quickly want to communicate outside of a dating site, for example switching from the dating site to email or texts. Doing this means less security and monitoring. Plus, it can also make victims feel a heightened sense of trust as they believe personal information has been shared.
  4. Need money for some sort of emergency. The FTC warns that these explanations are often plausible and scammers are often patient and skilled. Some of the most common reasons to ask for money are for: a plane ticket or travel expenses; surgery or medical expenses; customs or visa fees; or gambling debts.

The best rule of thumb to avoid being a victim is to never send money to someone who you haven’t meet. Additionally, if you meet someone online that is suspicious or that seems to be following the above pattern, it’s a good idea to stop communicating and to talk to a trusted friend or family member. While it can be hard to share this information with others, doing so can be an effective way to identify scammers and to avoid being defrauded. Further, if you believe that someone is trying to scam you, end all communication and report it to the dating site, the FTC, or even the FBI.

While online romance scams are a very real threat, they should not keep you from dating. Instead, stay informed and vigilant. Being proactive about avoiding these scams should allow you to take advantage of online dating resources without being afraid of scams.

Finding love during retirement years is important and can help improve your health, quality of life and general well-being. While it can be difficult, there are plenty of resources available for seniors to connect with and meet other seniors looking for love. Even if this means getting out of your comfort zone, it’s worth doing to find companionship and intimacy. Whether you try online dating or join a community center, it’s a good idea to be proactive to find love at any age.

Alliance America can help

Alliance America is an insurance and financial services company. Our financial professionals can assist you in maximizing your retirement resources and achieving your future goals. We have access to an array of products and services, all focused on helping you enjoy the retirement lifestyle you want and deserve. You can request a no-cost, no-obligation consultation by calling (833) 219-6884 today.

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