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November 24, 2018

Why elderly people make such easy targets for scammers


One of the saddest things that I've seen for my whole life is elderly people being scammed. And there are many reasons for this, from physical impairment that makes reading "fine print" very difficult, to the fact that most of the elderly people that I've ever known really do have kind and trusting hearts.

If you're an elderly person, or a young person, or a middle-aged person, it's wise to think critically, to doubt things. In fact, that's really the basic premise that I took when I left home. I didn't imagine that I knew everything at 18 (well, maybe I did!), but I knew how to read, how to think, how to do basic judgements. And I knew that with age would come knowledge and experience that I could apply. I remember my dad shaking his head often and saying "there's no fool like an old fool!" and I knew what he meant. Being young and not knowing stuff is perfectly natural, being old and not knowing stuff is just sad. I didn't want to grow up to be an old fool.

That being said, I've also seen elderly people who live in a world of fear. Their knowledge has accumulated to a point to where they have a reason to be afraid of everything. They read about the newly-discovered side-effects of eating an apple and they decide to never eat apples again. I'm sure you've met people like this - their lists of things goes and on, and continues to grow.

And of course the bad guys know about this. They prey on lack of knowledge, and more importantly knowledge of stuff that just isn't true. And it didn't start with the internet, bad guys have been scamming elderly people for a long time.

I've always enjoyed talking to people who are older than me. These people have been my mentors, they have shown me how I could choose a path that might be more successful. These are the wise elders that I have always read about. Believe me, they're there! And I would like to grow up to be one of them. And I've also seen the elderly people who seem as if they're simply waiting for a scammer to cheat them. The years have not taught them anything but to be afraid, and to grope for easy answers. And these are the "old fools" that I didn't want to become.

No, there's no guarantee that you won't be scammed, or cheated, at any age. Knowledge just increases your odds, that's all. I learned that long ago from some wise elderly people who took the time to share what they had learned on their path of life with me. There are no easy answers, but there are answers for those who seek.

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