Abstract

Tens of millions of dollars each year are spent on investor education. Because older adults (those aged sixty and older) are disproportionately victims of investment fraud schemes, many educational programs are targeted at them. In this Article, Professor Barnard questions the effectiveness of these programs. Drawing on recent studies from marketing scholars, neurobiologists, social psychologists, and behavioral economists examining the ways in which older adults process information and make decisions, she offers a model of fraud victimization (the "deception/decision cycle") that explains why older adults are often vulnerable to investment fraud schemes. She then suggests that many of the factors that contribute to fraud victimization are unlikely to be influenced by fraud prevention education. She also recommends alternative uses for the money now spent on fraud prevention education that would better achieve the goal of protecting older investors.

Document Type

Article

Publication Information

17 Elder Law Journal 201-237 (2009)

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