Se­nior’s weak­ness for scams may be warn­ing sign of de­men­tia

Sun.Star Pampanga - - SCIENCE! -

WASH­ING­TON (AP) — Does an older friend or rel­a­tive have a hard time hang­ing up on tele­mar­keters? Or get ex­cited about a “You’ve won a prize” voice­mail? New re­search sug­gests se­niors who aren’t on guard against scams also might be at risk for even­tu­ally de­vel­op­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

Elder fraud is a huge prob­lem, and Mon­day’s study doesn’t mean that peo­ple who fall prey to a con artist have some sort of de­men­tia brew­ing.

But sci­en­tists know that long be­fore the mem­ory prob­lems of Alzheimer’s be­come ob­vi­ous, peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence more sub­tle changes in their think­ing and judg­ment. Neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist Pa­tri­cia Boyle of Rush Univer­sity’s Alzheimer’s dis­ease cen­ter won­dered if one of the warn­ing signs might be the type of judg­ment mis­steps that can leave some­one sus­cep­ti­ble to scams.

“When a con artist ap­proaches an older per­son, they’re look­ing for a so­cial vul­ner­a­bil­ity — some­one who is open to hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with a com­plete stranger,” said Boyle. Then the older per­son must in­ter­pret that stranger’s in­ten­tions and emo­tions, with lit­tle else to go on, in de­cid­ing whether to be­lieve what they’re ped­dling, she ex­plained.

Boyle turned to data from the Fi­nan­cial In­dus­try Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity, which op­er­ates a fraud “risk me­ter,” to de­ter­mine be­hav­iors that could sig­nal scam vul­ner­a­bil­ity — things such as an­swer­ing the phone when you don’t rec­og­nize the num­ber, lis­ten­ing to tele­mar­keters, find­ing it dif­fi­cult to end un­so­licited calls, be­ing open to po­ten­tially risky in­vest­ments and not re­al­iz­ing that se­niors of­ten face fi­nan­cial ex­ploita­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.