Life Advice



Ask Amy: Elderly father might be in a romance scam

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My father, who is 83 years old, was "picked up" by a woman of the same age at a senior center dance.

She moved in with him right away.

She started out as being nice, but then she started to make up stories, telling our father that my younger brother was stealing money.

She picked a fight with my siblings and ended up convincing our father not to have any contact with us.

She will not let me speak with him.

We are not able to communicate at all with Dad, and this concerns me.


This woman has told my father numerous lies, and I am very troubled that she may be stealing money from him. Any thoughts or advice?

– Worried in Oregon

Dear Worried: I agree that any time a romance takes place at top speed and then quickly becomes the cause of family estrangement is cause for worry. So-called “romance scams” are on the rise, and the elderly are vulnerable. One might assume that an elderly woman might not perpetrate a romance scam, and yet – why not? You might investigate this woman’s background.

You don’t mention your father’s health, and at this point you might not be aware of any health concerns because you have not had access to him, but he might be experiencing cognitive decline or other health problems that render him more vulnerable to her control.


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