Dear Amy: I met a young woman online about eight months ago and have messaged her regularly. We also have video calls because she lives in the Philippines.
Long story short — she has a lot of issues with employment due to COVID-19, she has no family, her area was devastated by a typhoon, she has few friends, and health issues.
She received a job offer in Canada and the company was going to pay for her airfare and put her up in company housing. She was supposed to start next month.
I helped her to buy clothing and prepare for the move, but now she has been diagnosed with medical problems and has to take a six-month treatment regimen for uterine cysts.
I have helped her through many financial issues.
I feel more of a father figure than a boyfriend and just feel a lot of pain for her. I am wondering how long I should help her financially.
Should I cut the cord and tell her I cannot do this anymore?
Although I could afford to help her, it is financially and emotionally draining.
To top it off I am 69 years old and she is 26.
Dear Concerned: I am genuinely sorry to be the bearer of this news, but every detail you have supplied about this person points to the likelihood that you are the victim of a “romance scam.”
The missed opportunity for employment, the devastating typhoon, the near-miss move to North America — all of these dramatic episodes are designed to bait the hook and then to keep you on the hook, supplying more funds with each new drama that disrupts the relationship.
Even the nature of her sudden-onset medical problems is a classic “tell.”
The global pandemic has devastated the well-laid and legitimate plans of many, but it has also created opportunities for scammers to take advantage of big-hearted people.
AARP.org has a number of helpful articles describing current scams targeting older people. (Do a search using keywords “romance scams.”)
Quoting their helpful advice: “Rule Number One: Never send money to someone you’ve never met in person.”
AARP also has a Fraud Watch Network Hotline (877-908-3360). I called and spoke with a telephone counselor, who without judgment asked a number of easy-to-answer questions. Callers are then connected with a fraud specialist who can give advice about what you are dealing with and how to handle the relationship (including how to end it safely).
They can also connect you to enforcement agencies.
If you have children or a close friend you can talk to about this, be very honest and ask for help. Scammers often slip under the radar because victims are too embarrassed to talk about it, but elders are finding ways to take back their power — and I hope you will, too.
Dear Amy: I’ve been undeniably balding since college. I feel that I’ve always had a healthy attitude about accepting this inevitability.
Now, at 33, if you ask me, I fully understand and acknowledge that I’m a cue-ball surrounded by a horseshoe of luxuriously short-cropped brunette hair (picture Prince William).
My problem is that my wife showed me a picture the other day (completely unrelated to my hair), and I was dumbfounded by how bald I was!
How can I help myself to fully grasp my baldness?
It’s almost like I’m an amputee, sensing a ghost appendage.
— Bald in Oregon
Dear Bald: I think most of us have had an experience of catching a reflection and wondering who that person is — peeking back.
I am intrigued by your question, and I appreciate your desire to accept your glorious self, just as you are.
One solution might be to tape the photo near your mirror, alongside fellow handsome bald men (Prince William, Terry Crews, Justin Timberlake, Jason Statham, Stanley Tucci, Dwayne Johnson, et al). Say an affirmation: “I’m a bald boss!” and see if that doesn’t help to start your day with a boom.
Also, check out the site: Thebaldbrothers.com. These guys offer a fun and pro-bald take on looks and life.
Dear Amy: I didn’t like your response to “Concerned Father,” who wanted to buy a house for his son and daughter-in-law, who were not good at managing their finances because the DIL is a spendthrift.
You called this man out for not recognizing his son’s depression.
Didn’t it occur to you that the son is depressed because of his wife?
— You MISSED It
Dear MISSED: Clinical depression is a disease, not an attitude.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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