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Baby Boomers, Silent Generation top victims of online love scams — study

Their kids may be online more often than them, but the parents (and looks like even some grandparents) tend to be the ones falling into the trap of virtual love predators.

Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation seem to have bad luck when it comes to online love as they logged the highest numbers among love scam victims in Southeast Asia, based on a study.

According to research by Kaspersky in October last year, one in two people in Southeast Asia revealed losing money over online love scams, noting that the two oldest generations surveyed had the most number of victims.

The Silent Generation logged the highest amount lost, with nearly two in five of every adult in this bracket losing $5,000 to $10,000 (P25,000 to P51,000). Meanwhile, 8% of Gen Z recorded more than $10,000 (P25,000) of losses from romance-related threats.

Chris Connell, managing director for Asia Pacific at the research group, thus reminded people of all ages to be vigilant in building relationships online and offline,” stressing the importance of “keeping the mind on while listening to the heart.”

“When we were younger, we tend to be more curious and a bit more reckless. When we become older, we have a lot of time in our hands and, usually, retirement funds in our bank accounts,” he said. “Cybercriminals know these realities as well as our human tendencies to be lonely and crave for company when forced to be alone inside our houses.”

online love scam
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Warning signs of online dating scams

Here are some of “red flags” that you might want to consider when engaging in an online relationship, the study stated:

  • Demonstration of strong emotions in a very short time.

  • A quick move from dating sites or apps into private channels.

  • The scammer asks you a lot of questions about yourself to know more about you so you will be easier to manipulate.

  • Scammers sometimes operate in teams, with different people hiding behind one identity. So, if the person you’re talking to seems inconsistent, be suspicious.

  • They don’t have a digital footprint.

  • No video calls or face-to-face meeting. People who are scammed generally report that the other person made constant excuses to avoid going on camera. This is because they don’t look like the person in their profile picture and they avoid being identified to prevent being tracked down afterwards.

  • Requests for money based on personal hardship — for example, for a sick relative or a failed business.


How to avoid online dating scams

It won’t hurt to be cautious online so here are some reminders provided when using social media:

  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know.

  • Avoid revealing too much personal information in a dating profile or to someone you’ve chatted with only online.

  • Watch out for inconsistencies and take things slowly.

  • Use reputable dating sites and keep communicating through their messaging services. Scammers will want you to switch to text, social media or phone quickly, so there is no evidence on the dating site of them asking you for money.

  • Never give money to someone unless you also have a relationship with them offline.

  • To be safe, always notify a family member or a friend when you’re going on a date with someone outside of cyberspace. JB



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