Learn Self-Defense: Ten Tips To Help Avoid Investment Fraud – Part One
~ By Gerald Rome, Acting Colo. Securities Commissioner ~
Older Americans are an investment con artist favorite target and are frequently sought out by stockbrokers and financial planners who engage in abusive practices. Sadly, these victims are often cheated out of their savings, insurance payments, and even the equity in their homes. Fortunately, such victimization can be avoided by following ten simple self-defense tips. In part one of this three part series, we’ll examine the first three tips that you can follow to help yourself avoid falling victim to these unscrupulous scammers.
- Don’t be a courtesy victim.
Con artists will not hesitate to exploit the good manners of older Americans, who were taught to always be courteous to callers and people who visit them at home. However, a stranger who calls or visits you and asks for your money is to be regarded with extreme caution. You are under absolutely no obligation to stay on the telephone with a stranger who wants your money. In these situations, it is not impolite to simply say that you are not interested and end the conversation. Save your good manners for friends and family members, not swindlers!
- Check out strangers touting strange deals.
Many older Americans, who are eager to talk to someone (even if that someone is a complete stranger), are too quick to trust strangers when their personal finances are involved. Telemarketing con artists love to develop a false sense of friendship in the hope of gaining an unsuspecting victim trust. Say ‘no’ to any, even a friendly, ‘investment professional’ who presses you to make an immediate decision without giving you an opportunity to check out the salesperson, firm, or investment opportunity itself. Find background information on investment professionals and firms by simply calling us at the Division of Securities (303-894-2320).
- Always stay in charge of your money.
Shady financial professionals who are looking to steal your nest egg will be more than happy to assure you they can handle everything and there is no need for you to monitor your investment. Be wary of these professionals who urge you to leave everything in their hands or put your money into something you don’t understand. Constant vigilance is a necessary part of being an investor. If you are not well versed in finance, take the time to educate yourself or involve a family member or a trusted professional, such as your banker, before turning your hard earned money over to a stranger who insists that you sit back and wait for results.
Remembering these simple tips will ensure that your money stays safe and you don’t fall victim to a crooked investment professional. Be sure to watch for next month’s edition of Prime Time for Seniors for three more tips to avoid investment fraud.