Rights & Money

Don’t Let Your Own Emotions Scam You

Letting fraudsters get you excited or angry may make you an easy target

By Lola Augustine Brown

 New research results from Stanford University’s Centre on Longevity suggest that when older adults are emotionally stirred up, whether from positive emotions such as excitement or from negative emotions such as anger or frustration, they are much more vulnerable to being scammed than younger people are.

Researchers at the California institution ran an experiment in which they recreated the tactics of financial fraudsters, using the same methodology on two groups. The first group was made up of 71 people aged between 65 and 85, and the second consisted of 68 people between 30 and 40. The object was to determine how likely participants were to pay for an item that had been advertised in a misleading way once they had been stimulated to either anger or excitement. The results were compared with those from a group who had not been stimulated.

When the older adults were emotionally aroused, their desire or willingness to purchase products featured in misleading advertisements increased. This was not the case for the younger group.

The study’s results are a good reminder that you should take the time to think over any purchasing decisions, especially in stressful situations. Many phone scams, such as the now prevalent fraudulent calls that seem to come from Revenue Canada and threaten legal action, are intended to upset you. Don’t let yourself be bullied or flustered into buying something, committing to anything, or giving out personal information.

Photo: iStock/Highwaystarz-Photography.