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Interesting aspect of scams is that many victims have been warned. Some are victimized repeatedly. And not always the elderly.
Suckers with money are a recent... phenomenon.
Not so. They've always existed. Think of the number of people in medieval Europe who were willing to buy a "piece of the True Cross". There were enough of them to support a large body of con-artists who lived by the sale of these items.
If anything, I think people are more sophisticated these days. It's just that we've got a long way to go, that's all.