On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – November 12, 2021
by Columnist Thomas P Blake
Part 1 – Great news!
I think most of you will remember our Champ Ginny, age 80, from articles written April 23 and April 30, 2021, in our eNewsletter. Ginny met an old friend, Harry, who was shooting pool with his buddies at the Pennsylvania senior center where Ginny volunteered.
We first wrote about her in April. Although Harry is seven years older, they had known each other for 65+ years. Harry was a widower who had been married for 59 years. Ginny and Harry started dating in 2013 but he emphatically stressed to her, “No marriage or living together.”
The couple’s situation started to change this summer. Harry’s hard-core position on marriage softened. Ginny kept us posted. A wedding was planned for November 2021. Then the wedding was moved to September.
Then, this started to happen: One of our Champs and loyal followers is New York Times wedding columnist Tammy Lagorce. Tammy asked for permission to contact Ginny and then Tammy did what all good columnists do–dig in deeper, getting the facts.
Tammy wrote an article on Harry and Ginny’s wedding, which appeared in the Times on November 5. Wedding pictures included. It’s awesome (the link is below). The featured picture at the opening of this column is not Ginny and Harry. It was a wedding couple that Greta and I saw in Praque in 2007. They might have been 20 years old, not in their 80s.
After reading last week’s eNewsletter about Abba, Tammy emailed: “Thank you so much for pointing me in her (Ginny’s) direction, and please keep me posted on other Champs who are ready to tie the knot. You are a treasure trove of great stories! I appreciate you.”
So, Champs, if you are thinking of tying the knot, let us know so we can pass the word on to Tammy.
By the way, Ginny and Harry have a unique relationship: a LAT-M (Living Apart Together-Marriage).
Part 2 – Two websites that help seniors combat fraud and romance scams
Do you know that a “friend request” you receive on Facebook, or an offer for a free COVID-19 test on Instagram might be from a romance scammer trying to steal your money?
Are you aware that a phone call from a number you don’t recognize might be from a con artist claiming to work for the IRS who declares if you don’t pay delinquent back taxes that very day you will be jailed?
Romance scammers are con artists. They are experts at defrauding people. Romance scammers slowly gain the trust of vulnerable, lonely people, often seniors or widows, and sooner or later start asking for money. Millions of dollars have been stolen from unsuspecting seniors.
The United States Senate Special Committee on Aging is so concerned about seniors being scammed that it publishes an annual interactive Fraud Book that anyone can view online by searching on “Senate Interactive Fraud Report.” The book is free to download. Do not download other fraud books that cost money that might appear on the search page.
In a recent Senate Fraud Book I read, the opening Dear Friends letter said: “In 2020, the FTC estimated that Americans ages 60 and older lost at least $602 million to fraud, scams, and financial exploitation schemes.” The Fraud Book supplies tips from the FBI, FTC, and FCC on how to spot romance scammers and information from the FBI describing common techniques used by romance scammers, and details about Covid 19-related romance scams. The book includes a toll-free Fraud Hotline to report scams.
Another valuable tool for seniors for reading about romance and other scams is provided by the AARP Fraud Resource Center. The AARP Fraud Resource Center lists information on 76 different types of scams and fraud plus other valuable information. It can be accessed online by searching on “AARP Scams & Fraud.”
After studying the Senate Fraud Report and the AARP Scams & Fraud pages, I compiled a list of 10 tips for seniors to avoid fraud and romance scams
Tom’s 10 romance scam tips
1. To be better informed about fraud and scams, seniors should read and study the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging’s Fraud Report and the AARP Scams & Fraud pages.
2. If a person on a dating site says he or she is working overseas, it’s a red flag. Stop communications with that person
3. Trust your instincts. If someone sounds too good to be true, that person is likely a scammer
4. If a person says that meeting you was fate and he or she is quickly falling in love with you, it is a lie. A person cannot fall in love with someone he or she has never met face-to-face
5. Do not send pictures of yourself or supply personal information such as your home address to someone you’ve never met
6. Don’t be fooled by simple trinket-type gifts a person sends (if he or she has your address). The scammer gets the gifts for free from the scamming company
7. If a person says he or she is planning to visit you, and then cancels, he or she is likely a scammer
8. Never send money to anyone you don’t know personally or do not help a friend send money
9. Do not answer your phone if you don’t recognize the number calling you
10. Discuss your doubts or suspicious activity with friends or contact someone like me for an opinion. Or call the fraud hotline number listed in the Senate Fraud Report. Let’s put an end to romance scams. Beware of those social media “friend requests” and other warning signals.
Here are the two most important links I have provided to readers in the 26 years of writing newsletters and newspaper columns: AARP Fraud Watch Network
Link to AARP Fraud Watch
U.S. Senate’s Fraud Report
Link to Senate Fraud Report