1/2/2023 | By Amy Dickinson

After her 83-year-old father engages in a whirlwind romance, a woman wonders, is her dad’s girlfriend scamming him? See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson suggests in this edition of “Ask Amy.”

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 about my dad’s girlfriend scamming him possibly, 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 as a first step in establishing if your dad’s girlfriend is scamming him.

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.

Romance Scam text on phone

In your state (Oregon) you can call to report your concerns about an adult being isolated or abused: 1-855-503-SAFE (7233). This is a statewide hotline to report abuse or neglect and the call goes to the Department of Human Services.

You could also contact your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) to speak with a case worker to see if they can conduct a wellness check at your father’s home.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers – ranging from potential romance scams on the elderly to grandparenting to dating. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

© 2022 by Amy Dickinson

Click here to read more Ask Amy columns curated for a baby boomer audience.

Amy Dickinson