California seniors stand a greater chance of succumbing to online romance swindles, not because of their age, but because of loneliness. According to information from the Pew Research Center, 14% of senior citizens spend all of their time by themselves. As reported by MarketWatch, seniors living with a spouse spend about five hours each day alone.

Meeting like-minded individuals online has become relatively easy. Because the internet is always available, an individual who feels lonely can visit a website or open an app on his or her phone at any time.

Online dating is not the same as real-world dating

Meeting other individuals online has become relatively simple. A user may upload photographs, submit a personal bio and communicate that he or she is available for “dating.” On a website, however, exchanging explicit messages may replace the traditional style of dating. Instead of two people meeting each other for dinner or coffee, they may instead begin to exchange seductive or compromising photographs.

Adult children can learn to recognize the basics of a romance scam

When users sign up with a dating website and create a profile, they typically click on the characteristics of the type of individual they would like to meet. Several options make it easy to inform the site that an individual seeks a particular age range, personality or lifestyle.

Predators understand how to create a profile that can match their victims’ desired characteristics. By using fake photographs and false bios, a predator may attract a lonely senior who could fall for a romance scam. The relationship may begin with exchanging positive, kind and caring messages, as explained by AARP. As soon as the predator has gained some trust, he or she may ask for money, which a lonely victim may then send without question.

An effective estate plan may help prevent fraud

Preserving a family’s wealth may require tools accompanying an estate plan that could help prevent elder fraud or abuse. When a parent spends a great deal of time alone, he or she may become vulnerable enough to begin communicating with strangers online.