Investors nearing retirement or already retired who have lost money in the most recent market decline are desperate to repair their savings. They are panicking that they won’t have enough money to live during retirement and become easy target for folks selling anything from alternative energy investments to precious metals.
The instances of fraud against people in their 50′s and 60′s has dramatically increased as the markets have gone down. These people are afraid of more losses from stocks but can’t afford to live on money market rates or CD’s. Enter the fast talking salesman with all the answers. He convinces people to take out equity in their home to invest in direct private placements and real estate partnerships or to sell their insurance policies to investors at a discount (Life Settlement Securities). Many of these investments turn out to be scams and ponzi schemes. Even if the investments turn out to be legitimate, the risk associated with them is more then most investors in that age group can tolerate. They don’t have time to make back the substantial losses.
The best way to protect yourself from these fraudulent schemes is to thoroughly check out your broker or salesman. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has a “broker check” service on its website which allows anyone to access the complaint record and license history of every registered broker dealer and representative. You can also contact your state’s securities and insurance commission websites for licensee information.
If you have lost money to a broker selling an investment you suspect may be fraudulent, please contact us for a free case evaluation.