Our Attorneys Have Decades of Experience Helping the Elderly Recover From Investment Fraud
Investment fraud targeting seniors is a very real concern. From unscrupulous brokers and advisors to scam artists and companies that seek to take advantage of individuals who have spent their lives saving for retirement, seniors face a variety of investment-related risks, and they must be extremely careful to protect themselves against fraud.
At Zamansky LLC, we are committed to helping senior victims of investment fraud. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing seniors across the country, and we have secured victories against many of the world’s largest banks, firms and companies. If you are concerned that you or someone you love may be a victim of senior investment fraud, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free and confidential consultation.
7 Common Types of Investment Fraud Scams Aimed at Seniors
While fraud targeting senior investors can take many different forms, there are certain types of scams that are particularly common. Here are seven ways that brokers, advisors, scam artists and others will often target senior investors:
1. Affinity Fraud
Affinity fraud involves abusing a position of trust or authority in order to take advantage of the members of a particular group. For example, many affinity fraud cases involve church or community organization leaders.
2. Free Seminars
Free lunch and dinner seminars for seniors are often fronts for investment fraud scams. Rather than educating attendees, the purpose of these seminars is to mislead seniors into putting their money into speculative or fraudulent investments.
Ponzi schemes involve using investors’ money to pay “returns” to prior investors. Rather than investing seniors’ funds, Ponzi scheme operators pay a portion to prior investors in order to give the appearance of legitimacy while keeping the majority for themselves.
4. Senior “Credentials”
Individuals claiming to be brokers or advisors will often also claim to have credentials such as being a “Senior Specialist.” Such credentials do not exist, and these claims are used in an effort to provide seniors with a false sense of security so that they will part with their hard-earned money.
5. Unregistered Investments
Unregistered investments are risky for a variety of reasons. While certain unregistered investments can present viable opportunities for certain investors, they typically are not suitable for seniors who are focused on preserving their savings.
6. Unlicensed Services
All brokers and advisors must be licensed or registered in order to provide services to individual investors. If a person claiming to be a broker or advisor is not licensed or registered, this should be viewed as a red flag for fraud.
Perhaps the single most-common form of senior investment fraud is providing unsuitable advice. Brokers and advisors must provide investment advice that takes seniors’ age, financial circumstances and other pertinent factors into account—and failure to do so constitutes securities fraud.
Common Tactics Used to Target Elderly Investors
Unscrupulous brokers, advisors and others use a number of common tactics to try to convince seniors to invest their money. If you have heard any of the following statements and are now facing investment losses, you should speak with an investment fraud lawyer about your legal rights:
- “You’ve been specially selected for a unique investment opportunity.”
- “You should keep this information to yourself.”
- “This is a low-risk investment and you are virtually guaranteed to make money.”
- “This is a limited-time investment opportunity, so you need to act fast.”
- “You can earn tax-free returns on your investment.”
These are just examples. Legitimate investment brokers and advisors will not use any type of high-pressure sales tactics, and they will work with their senior clients to help ensure that they are making informed decisions. If you are rushed, pressured or threatened in any way, then there is a very good chance that you are being defrauded.
What Seniors and Families Can Do To Avoid Losses from Fraud
Given the risks senior investors face, it is important for seniors and their loved ones to do everything they can to prevent fraudulent investment losses. In general, prior to investing, seniors should:
1. Understand the Risks of Senior Investment Fraud
Seniors are at especially high risk for being targeted in investment fraud scams. While those who are unable to make informed financial decisions due to mental decline or other factors face the greatest risks, all seniors are potential targets for unscrupulous brokers, advisors and others.
2. Know the Red Flags for Senior Investment Fraud
Investment fraud scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and this is increasing the challenges facing senior investors. However, seniors can still look for red flags such as:
- Being asked to sign forms with blanks that haven’t been filled in;
- Being asked for discretionary authority over their bank or brokerage accounts;
- Being unable to get in touch with the person who sold an investment;
- Being pressured to invest in any way; and,
- Receiving unsolicited investment offerings by phone, mail or email.
3. Ask Lots of Questions
One of the best ways seniors can protect themselves is by asking lots of questions—or by having someone they trust ask questions for them. If you cannot gather the information you need to make an informed investment decision, then you should not invest.
4. Be Cautious about Unsolicited Investment Advice
Many unsolicited investment offers are scams. If someone you don’t know approaches you about an investment opportunity, this alone should be viewed as a red flag.
5. Seek Help When Necessary
If you have any questions or concerns about an investment opportunity or investment losses, you should seek professional help. At Zamansky LLC, we are more than happy to answer your questions; and, if you have fallen victim to an investment fraud scam, we can seek to recover your losses on your behalf.
Speak with an Investment Fraud Attorney at Zamansky LLC
For more information about the risks of senior investment fraud or to discuss your legal rights with an investment fraud attorney, contact us to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. To schedule an appointment at your convenience, please call 212-742-1414 or inquire online today.