Liz Weston: Will You Be a Scam Artist's Next Target?
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Liz Weston: Will You Be a Scam Artist’s Next Target?

Believing that fraud can’t happen to us — because we’re too smart, logical or informed — may make us more vulnerable. Successful scam artists skillfully overcome our defenses and get us into emotional states that override logical thinking, says Kathy Stokes, AARP’s director of fraud prevention programs. "Scammers call it getting the victim under the ether," she says. Various studies have tried to identify characteristics that make people more susceptible to fraud. But that can create a "blame the victim" mentality and give the rest of us a false sense of security, she says. "I’d say the majority of people are unwittingly deceived through no other reason than the criminals are good at what they do," Stokes says. Research is mixed on whether older people are more likely to be defrauded than younger ones. One thing is certain, though: Older people are more likely to have money. People 50 and older control 83% of the wealth in the U.S. One way to protect that money is to cut down on our exposure to sales pitches, fraud experts say. AARP studies have found investment fraud victims were more likely than other investors to respond to sales pitches delivered by phone, […]

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