Helping Seniors Spot Investment Fraud

It is a sad reality, but reality nonetheless: scammers love to target the elderly. Perhaps it is due to their trusting nature, presumably large savings account, or even their difficulty hearing over the phone that makes them vulnerable – but seniors account for roughly $2.6 billion in lost assets due to investment fraud each year. A truly shocking and pitiful statistic.

In light of this, Indiana has implemented a program known as the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention Program, which is working diligently the prevent this costly form of fraud that is estimated to impact 1 in 5 senior citizens at some point in their lifetime.

Helping seniors spot investment fraud is one of the most important ways in which adult children can empower their parents to avoid scam artists, and the EIFFE highlights the following red flags indicating a possible scam:

  • Low risk/High returns: The hallmark of an investment scam is the promise of very low risk and extremely high returns. The savvy investor knows that extremely high returns are often not possible without taking some degree of risk. However, the cunning scam artist will be able to talk a senior citizen out of this basic premise, unfortunately coercing the victim to make large investments – only to lose all of their hard-earned assets in the end.
  • Lack of registration/licensure: All professional members of the investment industry must be licensed and registered with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). Ask to see these credentials right away, and if the “investor” puts up a fight, walk away.
  • High-pressure tactics: Legitimate financial professionals work at the investor’s pace, not the other way around. High-pressure sales tactics are a major red flag the investment is a scam.

Anyone experiencing elder financial exploitation should contact the Indiana Securities Commission at 1-800-223-7891 or Adult Protective Services at 1-800-992-6978.

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