For years, we have hypothesized that older people were more susceptible to being scammed because they were more trusting, however recently, researchers at the University of Iowa believe they have found a physiological reason for the increased vulnerability of seniors to scams. They have located a location in the brain called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex that controls both belief and doubt. As we age, this area of the brain deteriorates and may well account for why many older people are more likely to become victims of outlandish scams. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex starts to deteriorate as early as age sixty. A study last year by MetLife put the figure for financial abuse of the elderly at close to three billion dollars.
The key for seniors is to recognize that their evaluation of potential scams that present themselves as financial opportunities may be compromised and they should not only be extra careful in considering such scams disguised as opportunities, but they should also enlist the help of trusted family members or trusted financial advisers before getting involved in any financial opportunity. It also is a wake up call for family members to take a more active role in assisting the more elderly members of their families in their financial affairs.