Don’t Be Duped by Con Artistsby Nick LaFleur on Sep. 30, 2011, under alert, Life, scam, Tips
“More than 7.3 million Americans over 65 have been financial-fraud victims, according to a 2010 survey by the Investor Protection Trust, a nonprofit investor-education group. And some of those con artists are their own age,” according to the September/October issue of the AARP Magazine.
How could so many people be duped by con artists? They connect with you because they share your age, background and/social sameness. They might approach you at church, in your retirement community, offering you free dinners, free golf, or something similar. AARP calls this affinity fraud.
Here are some tips from AARP to help protect yourself and your investments:
- Watch for red flags. Basically, if it sounds too good to be true, then it is. Promises of high returns with low risk are not reality. Be safe, find investments that have lower return but also lower risk.
- Ask and check. Contact your state securities agency to research the company and make sure the salesperson and firm are registered and have no history of problems. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau. Verify, verify, verify that you have a legitimate company.
- Buy time. Don’t let them pressure you. Make the decision after you have had time to think about it, talk with trusted friends and/or family, and do your investigation. A good company will be glad to wait until you feel comfortable.
Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona warns that con artists have no concern for your welfare. You could be blind and dying of cancer — they would still take your last dime and your identity.
Jenni Bergal writes in her AARP article, Our Own Worst Enemies, that older people are doing the scamming of the gray population. Bergal describes several scenarios of where people have been bilked out of their life savings. It’s a good read to make you aware of how people are so easily conned.