25 October 2014

Identity Theft Expert

Robert Siciliano - IDTheftSecurity.com

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Why Elderly Are Targeted By Scammers

25 January 2013  |  2085 views  |  0

It has long been believed that elderly, which depending on your definition, are people over the age of 60 years old, are targeted by scammers due to their generations naïve upbringing. But from my perspective, a 65 year old grew up in the 60’s and there’s nothing naïve about the Vietnam war/Woodstock generation. My dad’s one of them, and we have this ongoing conversation about how there isn’t a day that goes by when someone isn’t trying to pick our pocket.

Apparently based on a recent UCLA study, a potential reason why the elderly are scammed is because of “a particular region of the brain that influences the ability to discern who is honest and who is trying to deceive us.

Older people, more than younger adults, may fail to interpret an untrustworthy face as potentially dishonest, the study shows. The reason for this, the UCLA life scientists found, seems to be that a brain region called the anterior insula, which is linked to disgust and is important for discerning untrustworthy faces, is less active in older adults.”

So the anterior insula disseminates good verses evil and as we age it doesn’t work so well. Worse, the study states, “It looks like their skills for making good financial decisions may be deteriorating as early as their early-to-mid-50s.” Which means a lame anterior insula coupled with deteriorating financial decision capabilities leads to a diminished ability to connect the gut to the head.
With this study, if I was a scammer, I’d be hyper focusing my market with the baby-boomer generation in mind.

Protect yourself.  Like mom said, if it’s too good to be true it is.

Scammers use incoming communications including phone, email, text and snail mail to fleece their victims. Just hang up, or delete the email or text. Responding only means engaging in their activities and cannot lead to a good outcome.

When participating in online communities, it is not necessary to disclose so many personal details. Disclosing your street address, date of birth, and identifying your relatives is unnecessary. Remember, if a cybercriminal targeting you is missing certain details needed to steal your identity, they just might ask one of your “specified” relatives. Don’t make it easy for them.

Many social networks, dating sites, gaming sites and online auctions are one step ahead of such bad actors.  By employing identity, credit and device reputation checks provided by online fraud prevention companies, these layered approaches proactively detect and thwart cyber scammers in their tracks.

 

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Robert Siciliano

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Security Analyst

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IDTheftSecurity.com

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2010

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