Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Business

August 17, 2012

Why seniors may be more vulnerable to scams

It's no secret that senior citizens are a con artist's favorite target. They seem more trusting and more likely to fall for a scammer's pitch.

But why, exactly? Conventional wisdom holds that older people are more trusting and, because they are from a generation that came of age at a time when people were more honest, they don't question a scammer's “too good to be true” promises.

But maybe there's something more at work here. Researchers at the University of Iowa believe it all has to do with deteriorating brain function, a product of advancing years.

They say they’ve pinpointed the precise location in the human brain, called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), that controls belief and doubt, and that is what explains why some of us are more gullible than others.

Direct evidence

“The current study provides the first direct evidence beyond anecdotal reports that damage to the vmPFC increases credulity. Indeed, this specific deficit may explain why highly intelligent vmPFC patients can fall victim to seemingly obvious fraud schemes,” the researchers wrote in the paper published in a special issue of the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.

Statistics tend to support their conclusions. A study conducted for the National Institute of Justice in 2009 concluded that nearly 12 percent of people 60 and older had been exploited financially by a family member or a stranger. And a report last year by insurer MetLife Inc. estimated the annual loss by victims of elder financial abuse at $2.9 billion.

In 2006, ConsumerAffairs reported the case of an elderly Kansas man who lost $300,000 to the Canadian lottery scam over a four-year period. In an interview, his daughter said repeated intervention by family members and the police did little good, that her father could not conceive that someone would lie to him.  

Text Only
Business
  • Senators accuse GM of covering up defective switch

     Members of a Senate subcommittee accused General Motors of trying to cover up problems with an ignition switch that is now tied to 13 deaths, and pressed CEO Mary Barra to commit to punishing anyone involved.

    April 2, 2014

  • Bethesda 1 University of Okla. students paint murals, brighten up nonprofit

    The harsh, cold, metal door slipped away as green, then blue, turned into a lush, green field with a winding path and a group of University of Oklahoma undergraduate students painted murals Monday at Bethesda Inc., a local agency that specializes in sexual abuse treatment and prevention for children and adolescents.

    March 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Fly-tying Frenzy at Sam Noble Museum

    The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History will offer Fly-Tying Frenzy, an adult fly-tying workshop, from 8 to 11 a.m. for beginners and from 1 to 4 p.m. for intermediate and advanced participants April 5.

    March 12, 2014

  • JC_GE BUILDING.jpg Industry giants represented at Oak Tree

    Two corporate leaders discussed their company’s respective impact of business expansion on the local economy Thursday at the Edmond Chamber of Commerce Membership Luncheon.

    February 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Cherokee Nation raising minimum rage

    The Cherokee Nation, one of the largest Native American tribes in the country, is raising its minimum wage by 50 cents, Chief Bill John Baker announced Monday.

    February 25, 2014

  • Moore City Council denies zoning change request

    Residents protesting a requested zoning change to allow apartments to be built in an area devastated by the May 20 tornado filled Moore City Hall on Tuesday night, then applauded when the Moore City Council denied the zoning change request unanimously.

    February 19, 2014

  • Marvel to spin new webs in Spider-Man’s history

    There’s more to the story about how Peter Parker became the amazing Spider-Man than previously was known.

    February 17, 2014

  • Public invited to screening

    University of Oklahoma art and art history students are hosting a film screening 7 tonight at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., in conjunction with the 100th annual School of Art and Art History Student Exhibition.

    February 13, 2014

  • Johnston_Grain_2_BH_W.jpg W.B. Johnston Grain is being sold to Louisiana company

    The oldest and largest privately owned grain company in the state, W.B. Johnston Grain, is being sold to a Louisiana company.
    Johnston entered into a letter of intent to sell its grain company and related business to CGB Enterprises, a grain and transport business based in Covington, La.

    February 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Super Bowl posts another ratings record

    NEW YORK — For the fourth time in five years, the Super Bowl has set a record for the most-watched television event in U.S. history, drawing 111.5 million viewers even though the Seattle Seahawks’ 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos wasn’t really competitive.

    February 4, 2014

Business Marquee

e-Edition
  • How You Want It When You Want It Today's Pauls Valley Democrat

    Now you can view and download the Democrat right to your desktop on the day the paper is published. Click here to get more information on the Democrat's e-Edition.

     

    CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE E-EDITION SITE

     

    ATTENTION CURRENT DEMOCRAT SUBSCRIBERS TO START an e-EDITION

    e-mail request to sjohnson@pvdemocrat.com

    April 20, 2011 1 Photo 1 Link

AP Video
Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston Egypt Clamps Down on Mosques to Control Message After Fukushima, Japan Eyes Solar Power New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?
Stocks
Facebook