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Home > Blog > Why It’s Easier to Scam the Elderly

Why It’s Easier to Scam the Elderly

Older adults are more likely to become victims of investment fraud and financial scams than the general public. In many cases, the root of this fraud is related to the so-called elder investing expertise of the financial advisers that seniors turn to for financial advice.

A simple search on the Internet of financial advisers for seniors will produce a multitude of different titles, including elder care financial specialist and senior financial adviser. For many older investors, it’s difficult to know if these individuals actually have the proper training and credentials they say they have to help investors with their money.

Earlier this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a report on senior designations and what older Americans can do to prevent themselves from being scammed by financial advisers who may falsely claim to specialize in giving advice to seniors. According to the report, there are more than 50 senior designations in today’s marketplace by people recommending or selling products such as securities, investment opportunities, financial products, and insurance products like annuities and long-term care insurance.

Some of these designations are legitimate and require specific training and professional license; others, however, are simply window dressing.

The CFPB advises elderly investors to thoroughly check the background of any financial adviser with a senior designation behind his or her title. Among the resources you can use:

*The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Broker Check Web site. Broker Check lets you search the professional backgrounds of securities brokers and investment advisers, as well as their firms.

*The Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) database. IAPD provides instant access to registration documents filed by more than 25,000 SEC- or state-registered investment advisers. IAPD also provides access to registration information filed with the states by investment adviser representatives (certain individuals that are employed by an investment adviser).

*If your adviser sells insurance, the CFPB recommends that you contact your state insurance commissioner for additional information.

*If your adviser sells securities, your state securities regulator can provide additional information.


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