Most of us say to ourselves, “I never would have fallen for the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme that bilked billions of dollars from unsuspecting investors.” Yeah right. I suspect many of us would have if we just had enough money to make it worthwhile for Bernie to come after us. So what about the smaller-time bandits who are trying to squeeze the little they can from the less-than-rich? And what about our older parents who seem perfectly ripe for the kinds of con jobs that are going on now?

Scams and financial fraud are ever-present. And as citizens we should be aghast at how many people are affected. What galls me most is how many of these scams play directly to our senior population. Many older people don’t have that built-in suspicion the rest of us have since they grew up in a more innocent time when you could actually leave your door unlocked. And many don’t have the technological savvy to know what they can and cannot do when they get on their computers or cell phones.

A recent survey from the Investor Protection Trust found that over 7 million seniors had been scammed. That’s about 20% of the American population over 65. Scandalous.

The good news is that there is a movement to address this. The Prevent Elder Financial Abuse Call-in Program was created to help our parents avoid being ripped off. Several organizations have sponsored this program and set up telephone hotlines to help. Here are the numbers to call if you have concerns or questions:

  • General finance questions: (888) 227-1776
  • Medical questions: (888) 303-0430
  • Financial abuse: (888) 303-3297
For more information about the call-in program, go to www.investorprotection.org.

But as children of aging parents, there are other things we can and must do to prevent our parents from being victims.

  1. Talk to your parents about these conmen calling or emailing with great opportunities. Warn them and remind them that “if it sounds too good to be true, it IS too good to be true.
  2. Talk to your parents about protecting their online activity. Be sure there are anti virus software programs on their computers and remind them to never give out their credit card info on a link they received in an email. If unsure, they should separately go to the website they are purchasing from, not the link they got in the email.
  3. Be a snoop! I don’t mean pry into their personal files or drawers. But pay attention and ask a lot of questions about what they’re doing on the computer, where they’re investing, how they’re investing, and beg them to tell you about any opportunities they are considering investing in.
We welcome the kinds of programs sponsored by investorprotection.org. And we hope that many more people write about it and talk about fraud and abuse against our seniors so that we can stop these thieves before they strike.

9/20/2012 07:34:08 am

Interesting thoughts, just wanted to mention I came from Google.

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3/31/2014 04:28:30 pm

Cheers! Regarding this informative news about financial market & their fraud its happen generally now a day because trader or investors they have no knowledge about market so it can be happened

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