Friday, June 29, 2012


Well, I evidently poked a hornet’s nest with a comment in my last column. It was a piece about evil people who  phone people in the Shoals and inform them that their computer is infected with this, that and the other. Victims evidently whip out their credit card and are charged an average of $800.00 for “fix” computers that weren’t broken to begin with.

The offending statement read, “I have a hypothesis that the scammers have zeroed-in on the fact that the Shoals area has a preponderance of elderly people who are (...) more susceptible to these kinds of things.That might explain the uptick. Then again, we have lots of stupid people, too, so maybe they’ve picked up that.”

The majority of people who have called me about this scam were, in fact, elderly. From a skeptical standpoint, that doesn’t mean all the victims were elderly. It could be that my column is read by mostly-elderly people. It’s possible that my younger readers do not call me to report stuff. But the fact is that since the Shoals area is known worldwide as an excellent place to retire, it makes sense that evil people will also know that and take advantage of some of you.

A review of the research results in some interesting reasons why the elderly fall for scams. One researcher performed some tests that revealed that the possibility of losing money activates certain regions of the brain that govern risk taking. Young people have much more activity in this region that older folks. The kicker is that the part of the brain that anticipates financial rewards works well in both the old and the young.

Translation: The brains of elderly people no longer work to warn them of financial danger. All they can see is the potential reward and not the risk.

There is a part of me that wants to offer an apology for what I said. But a bigger part wants me to deliver bitter medicine to my elderly readers and the people who love them. So here goes:  I’m not sorry. Not a bit. I did not call my readers stupid. I didn’t call the elderly stupid. I stated that we do have stupid people in the area. That is true. When I wrote that, I was actually thinking of some moron I read about in the newspaper who abused an animal. If you are that person, yep, you’re stupid.

I really do write these articles as a way to help you, my friends and neighbors, save money and not get scammed by evildoers. So if my words made you angry at me, I hope that anger burns a spot in your brain that will become active the next time you are contacted by someone that wants to scam you. Good medicine sometimes tastes bad. I’m not sorry for that.

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