Beware Financial Scams Against Seniors:
Every year there are over 85,000 financially related scams perpetrated against seniors and only 20% are ever reported to proper authorities and investigated. In 1989 the Florida Legislature ordered a task force to report on crime against the elderly. The direct result of this task force was the formation of a Seniors vs. Crime project that evolved into a crime prevention program providing direct services to seniors who have been victimized, or otherwise taken advantage of by businesses or service providers. Unfortunately, there are dishonest people who will attempt to separate you from your money.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” represents the psychology of a scam. The trick is figuring out when “good” becomes “too good.” Investment fraudsters make their living by making sure the deals they offer appear to be both good and true. So, here’s how to protect yourself and minimize the risk of being relieved of your precious financial assets. These three strategies can be helpful in attempting to distinguish good offers from bad ones.
Have an exit strategy. Practice telling the caller “No, I am not interested” and terminate the conversation. Continuing the conversation will typically result in the caller increasing the pressure and attempting to learn more about your personal situation. When ending the conversation, you can add that investment decisions are only made after consulting with an attorney, investment advisor, or accountant. Do not worry about being rude, it is your money at risk.
Ask questions. A legitimate investment professional must be properly licensed and registered with the SEC or a state securities regulator. Ask if the firm is registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the SEC, or a state regulator, and which one? Visit SaveAndInvest.org (888-295-7422) to verify the caller’s responses.
Talk to someone first. Be very skeptical if the caller promoting the deal asks you to keep the proposal a secret, a legitimate investment professional will not ask you to keep secrets. Even if the seller and the investment are registered, it is always a good idea to discuss any financial decision with a trusted family member or financial professional.
If you are a senior with any questions about an investment or brokerage account, or believe you maybe the victim of a scam or treated unfairly, you can contact the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) at 844-574-3577 or fax 866-397-3290.
Indian River Shores Public Safety Department would like to introduce our new Patient Therapy Dog, Ophelia! We are fostering Ophelia from Halo Adoption Center. She is five years old and was adopted originally from Hawaii. Ophelia was sent to Halo after her owner passed away. She will be used by our medical staff to provide emotional support to residents with various illnesses.
Ophelia and members of Public Safety