This leaves many victims not only embarrassed, but also in financial distress.
It is important for online users to be on the look-out for online dating and romance scams.
Older Australians may also be seen by scammers as generally less internet and computer savvy.
Older Australians may also be more susceptible to door-to-door and home maintenance scams.
The unit, created three months ago, is armed with a new 2015 law that makes it a felony to exploit the elderly for money.
Prosecuting attorney Brandon Garod said it is tough to catch the anonymous con artists who solicit seniors through the mail, by phone or on the internet, but he and Mulligan Shea are working together to fight con artists through education about the new law and the newest scams.
It can happen like this: “Maria” signed up for an online dating service and was contacted by “Andrew,” who claimed to be an American overseas on business in Australia.
Criminals who perpetrate online dating and romance scams use emotional appeals to quickly gain their victims’ trust and then, just as quickly, exploit it.
The scammer will later explain that she’s from Russia but couldn’t select it as an option on the dating site.
In the first few letters the scammer will say what a good woman she is and how hard life is in Russia.
Her monthly salary is only a few hundred dollars, all Russian men are drunks and maybe her family died in a tragic accident or they are ill and in need of surgery.
Heart strings are pulled and victims are sucked in.