Top Tips to Stop Elder Financial Fraud Spotlighted by an Investment Fraud Attorney
Spring has bloomed, the winter storms have ebbed, and snow has (mostly) melted, but one thing hasn’t changed this year: investment fraudsters and con artists continue to target seniors in investment scams across the nation.
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To help stop elder financial fraud, follow these top tips from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards:
- Verify credentials, designations, and supposed specialties. Many con artists and fraudsters who target seniors use fake credentials, designations, or supposed specialties to lure in their victims and gain their trust. Make sure you double-check the legitimacy of any special credentials or designations an advisor, broker, or investment promoter uses. (For tips on understanding investment credentials, click here.) You should also ask whether the individual is required to provide advice under the fiduciary standard of care and what organizations license or supervise his or her services.
- Understand what you’re buying. There is a plethora of complex investment products on the market today, and they all have a long list of risks and potential downsides. Unfortunately, many financial professionals are selling these products to seniors based on the potential benefits alone. This is particularly true when it comes to annuities and insurance products. To help prevent fraud, ask as many questions as you need to ask until you fully understand the recommended product. In particular, make sure you know if and how you can get your money out if you need it, whether withdrawing your funds will carry a hefty penalty or fee, and what kind of fees and commissions the financial professional recommending the product will get if you make the investment. Also make sure to get the answers to your questions in writing.
- Beware of “free lunch” seminars and/or educational workshops. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to these scams. According to FINRA, approximately 80% of senior citizens in the U.S. receive at least one invitation to a free lunch seminar per year. Many seniors receive more than one invitation. While those so-called “workshops” may seem like a good idea, it is important to remember:There is no such thing as a “free lunch.”
For more tips on avoiding elder financial fraud and investment scams, read the CFP Board’s Financial Self-Defense for Seniors here.
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Meyer Wilson represents individuals across the country who have been harmed by investment fraud. All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee basis and we never request a retainer of any kind. Contact us for more information or complete the online form on the top of this page and we will respond promptly.
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