News Archive

Special Reporting Reveals New Insights About Age-Related Financial Vulnerability

David Brancaccio Reports on New Research Suggesting Ability to Identify Financial Schemes Might Be the First Thing to Go as People Age

American Public Media’s Marketplace announced a series of special coverage about age-related financial vulnerability. The series, titled “Brains and Losses,” is reported by Marketplace Morning Report host and senior editor David Brancaccio and examines how aging affects susceptibility to financial fraud. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau puts the cost of elder financial exploitation as high as $36 billion a year. This series takes a deeper look at why seniors may be more impressionable.

This reporting explores new research from leading neuroscientists specializing in geriatrics that suggests people become more exposed to financial exploitation as they get older—in fact, it may be one of the first things to go.

Throughout “Brains and Losses,” Brancaccio talks with a wide range of nationally recognized sources including medical researchers, elder justice advocates, and experts from institutions that include Weill-Cornell Medicine in New York, the University of Southern California, and the Stanford Center on Longevity.

Marketplace also shares stories of fraud victims and their families from across the country, including a 79-year-old substitute school nurse who lost nearly $200,000 in what started as a computer support scam and mushroomed into a blizzard of gift card purchases and a bank transfer to Nepal.

The series exposes the potential damages of financial vulnerability and offers recommendations for audiences who want to protect themselves or their aging family members.

“I’ve just spent a year exploring the twilight world of older people targeted by scammers. I wanted to know more after I noticed my own father-in-law, who’s in his mid-80s, was being inundated by scammers—his phone would ring every 10 minutes or so with someone trying to pick his pocket one way or another,” Brancaccio says. “It turns out, that one ringing phone was just the tip of a massive problem.”

“This is an issue that so many families are being forced to grapple with. Since May is mental health awareness month we thought this was a good time to share real life stories and provide guidance to our listeners about how to talk to their loved ones to help prevent them from becoming the next victims,” says Nicole Childers, executive producer of Marketplace Morning Report.

Brancaccio is the recipient of several journalism awards, including the Peabody, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia, the Cronkite, and an Emmy. He has previously appeared on CBS, CNBC, MSNBC, and BBC World Service Television, with his written work being published in The Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun, and Britain’s The Guardian. He is also the author of the book Squandering Aimlessly, an exploration of how Americans apply their personal values to their money.

Marketplace Morning Report is a daily radio broadcast show covering the latest on markets, money, jobs, and innovation that airs daily across nearly 800 stations nationally.

Tune in to Marketplace Morning Report on your local public radio station or on for this in-depth reporting series beginning May 17.

Source: American Public Media