Online romance scams draining seniors' bank accounts

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Online Romance Scams Draining Seniors' Bank Accounts

Thousands of people are turning to the Internet to find love, only to be swindled out of their savings.

Called romance scams, they typically involve online messages, smooth talking and then requests for money to resolve emergency situations.

Based on incidents reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center in just the second half of last year, around 6,000 Americans reportedly lost more than $82 million.

In Vermont alone, individual losses typically range from $40,000 to $100,000, according to the Attorney General's office.

And the actual amounts are thought to be much higher because many victims, who tend to be seniors, are too ashamed to come forward. There's the stigma of falling for a scheme but also the negative impression that families and community members may have that hinders reporting.

But even for those who decide to take action, authorities generally do not pursue the cases, and the lost money does not get recouped.

An AARP representative recommends that members become more vigilant, as older people have been shown to have a reduced ability to detect scams.

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