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Crime Science

A Brain-Based Explanation For Why Old People Get Scammed 209

sciencehabit writes "Despite long experience with the ways of the world, older people are especially vulnerable to fraud. According to the Federal Trade Commission, up to 80% of scam victims are over 65. One explanation may lie in a brain region that serves as a built-in crook detector. Called the anterior insula, this structure — which fires up in response to the face of an unsavory character — is less active in older people, possibly making them less cagey than younger folks, a new study finds."
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A Brain-Based Explanation For Why Old People Get Scammed

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  • Re:Generation Gap? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kryliss ( 72493 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @10:56AM (#42179053)

    Only during the early TV years did everyone seem so honest and wonderful. Leave it to Beaver, My Three Sons and about a million other goody goody TV shows makes the newer generations think that life back then was so golly gee whiz good. There never was a Mayberry and people were just as dishonest then as they are now, the internet just allows us to see it more often.

  • Re:Generation Gap? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @11:01AM (#42179107)

    If anything people were less honest. In the 1950s lots of crimes went totally unreported and still their crime rates where rather high. Physical, mental or sexual abuse of family members was very often unreported. In most states a wife could not even report a rape by her husband as no such crime existed.

    The homicide rate today for the USA is lower than it was in 1960.

  • oh just that? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by v1 ( 525388 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @11:02AM (#42179117) Homepage Journal

    All brain functions are in decline throughout most of our lives, I doubt any one specific area has much more of an impact than any other. Judgement, trust, memory, reasoning, caution, etc.

    Up to a certain point, sheer experience helps prevent older folks from being scammed, but somewhere there's going to be a tipping point in most people's cognitive skills in general that make them an easier mark. A headline like "Elderly found to be easier to scam!" just gets "no kidding!" from me.

    I'd also wager the average 85 yr old is easier to coax into a stranger's car than the average 5 yr old.

    I'm sure I'll get a reply from one or two telling me their Aunt Gracie was sharp as a whip till the day she died at 90, and you'll run into that from time to time, but those people are by far the exception to the rule.

  • by alexo ( 9335 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:03PM (#42179943) Journal

    If your head is too far up your own ass to go cast a ballot for the politicians that best represent your interests [...]

    Unless you feature in Forbes Magazine, no politician on the ballot represents your interests.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:19PM (#42180169)

    That's some primo racism in there buddy. Here's a hint: If you replace the word "gypsy" by "jew" or "black" or "muslim" and something would appear racist, then it's racist. []

    But of course you'll claim you're not a racist, and travelers are really like that, because you know someone who heard something that happened this one time, right?

  • Re:Generation Gap? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:42PM (#42180477) Homepage

    There were some pluses to living in the 1950's, but there were almost all related to the fact that men ages 20-50 were in short supply after WWII. For instance, white men could get better (in terms of wages, benefits, and hours) jobs than are available now and could marry better (because they were so outnumbered by women who wanted to get married).

    That difference is actually key to the modern American social conservative narrative, which sells the (completely bogus) idea that if we had the same social structure white people had in the 1950's, we'd have the economic success that white families enjoyed in the 1950's. And of course, if you weren't white, it's a completely different story.

  • Re:Generation Gap? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:56PM (#42180645)

    Rape without physical force is possible, and probably relatively common compared to physical rape.

    Don't think that all guys happily accept sex anytime with just any woman. We're choosy too, though it may not be as obvious.

    I'm a guy, and I've been pushed into sex. It was bordering on rape as I didn't really want to, but felt pushed into it. (I don't want to go into detail.) I wouldn't call my situation a clear case of rape because of the situation (still don't want to go into detail) but I can well imagine people who are pushed into sex by blackmail and other non-violent pressure.

    But to scoff at it and say "Suuure he didn't want it. He's a guy, so of course he want's it." is actually extremely painful. Do I sound soppy? Not manly enough? I'm posting AC because although I'm about as blokey (in some ways a jock) as they come (pun not intended), I'm also human and have feelings. But as a guy, it's usually best to hide such feelings for fear of being ridiculed. And that is how things such as non-violent rape fly under the radar.

  • Re:Oooooorrr (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Razgorov Prikazka ( 1699498 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @09:11PM (#42187001)
    Hmmm... this makes me remember a story I heard from a penetration tester. He 'lost' a usb-stick in a non-conspicuous place in the toilet nearest to the IT department of a business he was hired to test. Guess what...
    Within 45 minutes someone inserted the stick, opened the malicious .pdf on a system that was connected to the net... and he found himself on the yellow brick road with a little dog called Toto, and full access to the systems of the wicked witch of the east!
    Lesson learned: even old tech works with geeks :-)
    How is that for a brainfest huh?

The Macintosh is Xerox technology at its best.