DrMarkLachs9 karma2019-07-12 16:12:26 UTC
It's a complicated set of medical and social factors. Certainly, older adults with Alzheimer's Disease are vulnerable. But disturbing neuroscience is starting to suggest that the aging brain, in the absence of disorders like dementia, becomes vulnerable. But it not just the brain! Social isolation and loneliness can cause older people to respond to these scammers in a misguided attempt to cultivate social relationships. And then there are common changes with aging - hearing loss, visual impairment etc that can make these "offers" difficult to fully understand.
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DrMarkLachs5 karma2019-07-12 16:49:34 UTC
Having David Brancaccio do it.
DrMarkLachs4 karma2019-07-12 16:54:31 UTC
I'm unaware of any studies that have sub-group analysis as to who is more vulnerable. With regard to your racial observation, here's an hypothesis: it may be because of the wealth disparity between non-whites and whites, where wealth is more concentrated. When the famous bank robber Willie Sutton was apprehended he was asked why he robbed banks. His answer was not the profound philosophical treatise the reporter expected. Willie said: "Because that's where the money is."
DrMarkLachs4 karma2019-07-12 16:30:03 UTC
There are many reasons why it's difficult to identify these perpetrators. They are good at what they do and they're increasingly sophisticated at both hiding their schemes and digital footprints. Additionally, many are based outside of the United States, which creates both detection and enforcement problems. Finally, the FTC which is supposed to regulate, educate, and and drive policy in this area has been under-resourced and, dare I say, "de-fanged" which is not helping matters.
DrMarkLachs4 karma2019-07-12 16:37:06 UTC
We geriatricians have a saying, "You've seen one 80 year-old, then you've seen one 80 year-old." I personally take care of patients in their 90s, some of whom are bed-bound, and others who could whip you at bridge, the NYTimes crossword puzzle, or chess. So I don't think we can generalize. I won't comment on the mental health of current politicians, as tempting as it may be.
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