Don't Be A Victim Of Financial Scams

By: Jody Smith

There's a dirty rumor circulating out there, and it's been making the rounds for a very long time. The insinuation is that seniors are a little... dimwitted where their money is concerned. They are whispered to be easy targets for scammers and con artists angling for their wallet and their life savings.Unfortunately, there are plenty of cases where seniors have been taken advantage of. Don't let yourself become part of this statistic.

Start out with a little healthy cynicism. When you're contacted by an individual or organization that may or may not be legitimate, take the stars out of your eyes, and don't feel obligated to trust. The onus is on them to prove themselves to you.

Get the salesperson's name, position, phone number. Take the street address, mailing address and business license number of the organization. Verify all of this before you go any further with them. Call the Better Business Bureau to see if others have complained.

In the case of an alleged charity, don't feel that you are being hard-hearted when you ask questions about how much would go to commissions and salaries, and how much would actually go to the charity or investment.

Take responsibility for your own investments. Don't assume that someone else will be watching out for your best interests. Ask questions when necessary. Get everything in writing. Watch to ensure that your money isn't being moved around by anyone who is not authorized by you.

Don't respond to flyers and invitations through the mail, internet or phone that you did not solicit. Don't sign anything without fully understanding it, and without having it looked at by a professional and knowledgeable third party. Don't let yourself be pressured into making quick decisions. Don't pay for anything in advance.

Do you suspect that you have been the victim of some financial fraud? Not sure what to do about it?

Don't hesitate to go to your bank and talk to the tellers and officers there. Bank officials are obligated to reported anything that looks like possible financial abuse of the elderly, including filing a Suspicious Activity Report for the U.S. government.

Don't be reluctant to contact the police or a lawyer if you think you've been taken advantage of. Call a watchdog organization, like your local consumer protection agency, state attorney general, the National Fraud Information Center. Complaints concerning suspected fraud can be filed with your state securities commission as well as with the Federal Trade Commission. Phone 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357) or go to their website at www.ftc.gov/

Jody Smith is a freelance writer for EmpowHER.com.

Sources:

Elder Abuse: Financial Scams Against Seniors

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/elder-abuse-financial-scams-against-29822.html

10 Tips For Dodging Seniors Scams

http://www.seniorsite.com/finance/10-tips-for-dodging-seniors-scams.asp

Fraud Target: Senior Citizens

http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/seniors

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