Research into scam victims

Any information or research into the rampant "Nigerian Scam" messages.

Research into scam victims

Postby AlphaCentauri » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:20 pm ... ?viewAll=y

The patient was in his 80s. He didn't have dementia, but this smart, sophisticated man had made a series of baffling, devastatingly bad financial decisions of a sort that are all too common at his age.

He had been told he'd won a contest and would get a big prize if he sent some money in first. His daughter caught on after the man had lost "tens of thousands of dollars," said Murray Grossman, a University of Pennsylvania neurologist who studies degeneration of the brain's frontal and temporal lobes.

Even after the patient's daughter changed his phone numbers and took control of his bank account, even after he knew the contest was a scam, he tried to give the con artists more money. "The guy would literally call the scammer and give him the new phone number," Grossman said.

As far as Grossman could tell, the man had "normal" aging, which is cold comfort. Just as our muscles and eyes typically decline with age, so too do our brains. They shrink and show other signs of wear. And that process often plays disproportionate hell with the frontal lobes...

"People who throughout their life have not been vulnerable to scams do become vulnerable in their later years," said Daniel Marson, a neuropsychologist and lawyer who runs the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Alzheimer's Disease Center. "We think that financial abilities are exquisitely vulnerable to early cognitive changes."

Psychologists have known for decades that executive function declines with age. Some aspects peak in the 20s. Luckily, the decline is balanced by wisdom. Overall knowledge rises throughout adulthood. As Scott Huettel, a neuroscientist at Duke University, put it, older people can't respond as fast to a changing streetlight, but they're less likely to put themselves in situations where they make mistakes...

Frontal lobe decline can also make people more impulsive and prone to false memories. The elderly are less likely to remember where they learned something, a problem if the source was shady...

Just because we're clever enough to spot these scams, doesn't mean we'll still be able to when we're living off our savings ...
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Re: Research into scam victims

Postby randy67 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:51 pm

I hope I have savings to live off of.

I think my mother-in-law is getting those 'false memories'. It's driving my wife crazy.
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