(WTNH) — Have you ever been given a “great offer” or a “hot tip” on an investment? How can you tell what’s legitimate and what’s a scam? Scammers cheat investors out of more than $40 Billion a year, with seniors often the most common targets. AARP Fraud Watch Volunteer Tia Murphy says older people can be at higher risk for many reasons. Older people tend to have more assets, may be more trusting. If they are retired they may have a good size nest egg but be anxious about whether their money will last in retirement. They may be more susceptible to offers which promise high or guaranteed returns.
Think twice if you hear anything like:
- “Your profit is guaranteed.”
- “It’s an amazingly high rate of return.”
- “There’s no risk.”
- “You can get in on the ground floor.”
- “This offer is only available today.”
- “It’s a secret investment tip just for you.”
- “I’ll get you the paperwork later.”
- “Just make your check out to me.” Tia says a legitimate investment will require a check to the firm.
Christopher Mattei Chief, of the United States Attorney’s Office says common fraudulent investments includes “Ponzi Schemes” – brokers/ financial advisors will take money from one client and give it to another client or into the pocket of a broker or financial advisor. Other common schemes include: Pyramid Schemes, Advance Fee Fraud, and Pump and Dump.
Christopher says people can protect themselves in many ways.
- People who feel they might be scammed should always find out who you are talking to (sec.gov or finra.org)
- Get a second opinion. Understand the terms and fees of your financial agreements before you sign anything; get help from a lawyer, accountant, or family members if needed.
- Most investments are some form of security that must be registered with your state securities regulator or with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Find out how to contact your regulator on the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) website at www.nasaa.org/about-us/contact-us/contact-your-regulator/. If it’s not registered, don’t invest!
- Never provide an upfront fee or personal information to anyone who comes to you unsolicited (via phone, email, mail, or in-person).
- Review all of your financial statements on a frequent basis; you are likely to see any discrepancies with your accounts before anyone else.
The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a free online resource for information about how to spot and avoid scams. You can sign up for real-time alerts about the latest scams happening in your state, and access tips and expert advice on how to protect yourself, and what to look out for to avoid being a victim. Here in Connecticut, AARP is working as part of the Elder Justice Coalition of CT with state, federal and community organizations and law enforcement to help educate older adults and their families. They also have trained volunteers available to give Fraud Prevention presentations to community groups and municipalities.
For more information or to sign up for the AARP Fraud Watch Network, visit www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork. If interested in scheduling a presentation for your group or organization, please contact AARP Connecticut at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-295-7279.
More Information about AARP:
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, nearly 600,000 of them right here in Connecticut, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment security and retirement planning.
AARP Vision: a society in which everyone ages with dignity and purpose, and in which AARP helps people fulfill their goals and dreams;
AARP Mission: AARP is dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as we age. We lead positive social change and deliver value to members through information, advocacy and service.
AARP Motto: “To serve, not to be served”
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To schedule a presentation:
21 Oak Street, Suite 104
Hartford, CT 06106