Older adults' vulnerability to deception: causes and intervention

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Psychology


Older adults (60+ years) are often perceived to be more vulnerable to fraud than younger adults (Fraud on the Elderly, 2013). This is a risk to older adults' mental health and well-being, becausebeing a victim of fraud andthe fear of crime associatedwith beingat risk increase the risk of depression (Ganzini, McFarland &Bloom, 1990; Greve, Leipold & Kappes, 2017). One causeof older adults'vulnerability to fraud may be that older adults are less good at lie detection (Ruffman, Murray, Halberstadt, & Vater, 2012). Older adults seem to have a stronger 'truth bias', than younger adults, meaning that older adults are more likely to believe that people are telling the truth (Slessor et al. 2014). The causeof older adults' truth bias isstill unclear, but several possible causeshave been identified. Social factors may play a part, as Bushman (1983) suggeststhat older adults are more likely to comply with authority requests. This makes them more vulnerable to the many scams that use a faked authority figure (e.g. phishing emails from "system administrators" demanding that you
provide your password, Modic & Lea, 2013). Online fraud is becoming more common, but older adults have less experience being a target of internet fraud than younger adults(Pratt, Holtfreter & Reisig, 2010). This may reduce older adults'ability to recognise and resist online fraud attempts. Social factors may also be protective:older adults who can ask for support may be more likely to resist deception attempts than older adults who do not have this support


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000665/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2036370 Studentship ES/P000665/1 01/10/2018 28/02/2023 Rebecca Jagodzinski