Broken hearts, empty wallets: Tech partnership warns older adults of catfishing scams

Catfishing is a type of scam where people are lured in relationships for money.

Megan Lynch
October 16, 2019 - 3:53 pm
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(KMOX) — During Cybersecurity Awareness Month, lonely older Americans are being warned about romance scams.

"A catfisher will break your heart while emptying your wallet. According to the FTC, romance scams cost American victims more than any other type of fraud. When it comes to losses from catfishing scams, older adults fare the worst," a video produced by AT&T and the Oasis Institute warns.

Catfishing is a type of scam where people are lured in relationships for money, the video explains. 

"Older adults sometimes are losing their social circle," Oasis Technology Program Director Amy VanDeVelde said. "They might be interested in starting a new relationship if a spouse has died, or they might be looking for a friend on Facebook, and so people who are scammers or catfishers are happy to look like somebody who's a friend.

VanDeVelde says older adults are often embarrassed to admit they've been taken in by cybercriminals for fear their family will question whether they should be independent. VanDeVelde says the victim of sophisticated hackers should never be blamed. 

For more information and videos on cybersecurity from AT&T and the Oasis Institute, visit connections.oasisnet.org/safety.

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