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Scientists Say Elderly Get Scammed More Because Their Gullibility Detectors Wear Down With Age

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - 4:43 AM
From Consumerist
The elderly have long been desirable prey for scammers — but why? Is it because they're perceived as lonely or their access to disposable income? A group of scientists have introduced a new theory in a study of older people that says it's just because our gullibility detectors simply get worn down as we age.

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Have you noticed this trait in aging family members?
2
Ken TuminKen Tumin5,467 posts since
Nov 29, 2009
Rep Points: 124,996
1. Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - 10:26 AM
Concerning the Elderly and these so called Dormant accounts.  If one has a parent who refuses to discuss their finances with an adult child and they decease, how can one know if they have Dormant accounts?  Many seniors do not realized that if they just open an account and ignore it or enter into senility and forget about it that these accounts can be considered dormant and turned over to the government.  If one purchases CDs for long term and do not contact the bank until they mature can they be considered "dormant" since no further activity is done on them until maturity?  Does the Dormant business only involve savings accounts with no further activity?.  Thanks for any additional  info you can share.
1
paoli2paoli21,365 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 5,982
2. Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - 12:29 PM
The only mention that I've seen of a CD becoming dormant and being escheated is what I read in a WSJ article that I posted on in July. I would think savings and checking accounts are more likely to be labeled dormant before CDs.
1
Ken TuminKen Tumin5,467 posts since
Nov 29, 2009
Rep Points: 124,996
3. Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - 1:24 PM
After two years into a five-year CD with OnBank, I was required to mail back a signed form in order to avoid having the account deemed dormant. Furthermore, after signing and mailing back the form, I received the form again about a month later. When I called OnBank and, after answering all the security questions to verify my identity, the CSR said that the bank didn't receive the form I mailed back. I questioned how a CD could be deemed "dormant" in the first place, given that the very nature of the account doesn't permit account activity, but was told that contact with the bank is necessary and that this is a standard practice with online CDs. I pointed out that the very fact that I was speaking with him, and that my identity was verified by the successful answering of the security questions, is contact with the bank and should be sufficient proof that I am still living. The CSR was not swayed by my reasoning, and so I had to sign and mail the form to OnBank yet again! Paradoxically, last month made another two years since that conversation and mailing, and yet I have not received that form again. Seems inconsistent, doesn't it?
2
WilWil242 posts since
Feb 26, 2010
Rep Points: 1,281
4. Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - 1:55 PM
Wil:  Thanks for your reply.  This is my concern.  Most people, like myself, who have been purchasing CDs for umteen years have always considered that we don't have to be concerned about it until the maturity date.  If one has a 5 year CD why would one have to contact the bank unless you want to do a EWP?  My concern is that many seniors think the same way and may become deceased without knowing some of their funds may have become "Dormant" and their relatives are not even aware they had funds in those banks.  Makes it great for the gov to be able to take hold of money which doesn't belong to them but can be upsetting for relatives who were supposed to inherit the money.  Seniors need to be made aware of letting certain relatives know where their funds are because if they become senile, "they" may not remember where the funds are!
1
paoli2paoli21,365 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 5,982
5. Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - 2:06 PM
Paoli2, Ken and others have discussed the issue of identifying and recovering dormant accounts.  The links below include references to sites which may be helpful.

http://www.depositaccounts.com/forum/thread/5420-the-lost-and-found-of-missing-money.html

http://www.depositaccounts.com/forum/thread/5309-checking-unclaimed-money-sites-may-surprise-you.html

http://www.depositaccounts.com/forum/thread/5682-6-things-to-know-about-finding-unclaimed-assets.html

http://www.depositaccounts.com/forum/thread/2467-beware-of-escheatment-for-your-savings-and-checking-accounts.html

 
1
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,430 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,246
6. Tuesday, August 21, 2012 - 2:58 PM
The author of the article has it backwards.  It's not the elderly person's "gullibility detector" that is worn down, it's the scammer's "gullibility detector" that is active. 

Thankfully my senior loved ones have maintained their wits about them as they have aged, and I have been fortunate to be able to be extensively and actively involved with most of them on a day-to-day basis.  

However, in one instance, a senior relative who lived in another state, while critically ill and under the influence of strong medication, was persuaded by a person they trusted (although I never had, and rightfully so, as it turned out) to sign paperwork a day before I arrived.  The paperwork completely changed the beneficiaries section of a life insurance policy to (surprise!) benefit that person (who had never been one of the beneficiaries) exclusively. 

Thankfully, my relative recovered and off-handedly mentioned to me a few days later that they had been almost too weak at the time to sign the paperwork so-and-so had given them, and that is how and when the deceit came to light.  It turned out that at the time my relative hadn't been sure what they were being asked to sign, but did so because they trusted the person.  Fortunately I was able to update the policy in accordance with my relative's original wishes and at their urgent request.  However, the experience was a stark reminder of just how greedy, immoral and despicable some people can be. 

Whether we like it or not, scammers and predators lying in wait to take advantage of someone who is vulnerable and with diminished capabilities due to illness can sometimes wear familiar faces. 

 
4
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,430 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,246
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