August 16, 2011

Seniors have a lifetime of experience and an understanding that most younger people simply can’t fully appreciate. Most senior citizens are kind and loving people, and trusting of others and believe in good things from the people they know, and even strangers. Seniors generally have a positive outlook and are thankful for their lives and experiences. May seniors have had successful marriages and children, and frankly have grown up in a more trusting and meaningful world than today’s electronic, overpopulated concrete jungle that has become the new reality. With more seniors accessing the internet, criminals have set their targets on this trusting group.

Criminals know well that senior citizens typically don’t have the tech savvy and understanding of the risks of the internet as do younger people, who have grown up online. Some seniors are lonely or widowers, and try to meet new friends and even partners on the internet. Targeting these trusting and honest seniors are despicable criminals, who often operate from organized criminal cells in countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Russia, the Ukraine, the Philippines, Malaysia or even the U.K. Scammers often operate out of cyber cafes or hide behind proxy servers, making it difficult to track down these criminals who perpetrate the crimes. Organized crime in West Africa and Southeast Asia now have connections and accomplices operating in the U.K. and U.S., where lax immigration policies have led to the near ruin of each country, and criminals operate freely and undetected from within their borders. It pays to remember that most of the 19 Muslim terrorists who murdered more than 2,900 innocent people on September 11, 2001 were illegal aliens. One of the fast growing crimes among undocumented immigrants is internet scams and fraud.

The internet can be overwhelming for anyone, especially seniors. Fast developing and changing technology with new websites, applications, hundreds of online dating and social networking sites to choose from is hard to keep up with. Loneliness often drives seniors into this electronic world without knowing the risks. More and more seniors are reporting the crime and scams to local law enforcement and also to the FBI. Wymoo® International, a professional international investigation firm, says that they have seen a sharp increase in the number of internet scams targeting seniors. The most important factor is prevention and educating seniors to be more skeptical, never to provide personal data online, and never send money to anyone overseas, for any reason. Be careful about revealing personal information, and keep social security numbers, ID copies, addresses and birth dates protected. If in doubt, contact a reputable international background check company for a discreet and confidential background check to verify the person.

Love is complicated. New relationships online are full of risk, but there are good and honest people out there. Online dating and social networking is a new option for senior citizens who are seeking new friends and partners. It’s a useful tool that can bring comfort and happiness, or tragedy. So if you are involved in online relationships, take precautions and be safe and wise. Know that the risk for identity theft, romance scams and advance fee fraud is real. Know that criminals are expert scammers and can be very convincing, and anyone can be a victim. Stay skeptical.

Professional international investigators are discreet and offer strictly confidential services. They can help you verify if your online contact is who he or she claims to be. For seniors, they can offer valuable advice, and give you the peace of mind you need to make an important decision. Be safe, protect your personal information, never send money, and contact a reputable international investigation firm for assistance when in doubt. It’s good insurance to have.

All the best,

S. Birch
© 2011 S. Birch

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This copyrighted article was written and published by the editor and site author, S. Birch, or other guest private investigator, expert or contributor as stated.