What are Examples of Elder Financial Fraud?
Elder financial fraud encompasses any fraudulent acts which deprive an elderly person of their right to receive the economic benefit of their assets. The notion that elderly retirees are targeted by unscrupulous individuals throughout all areas of business endeavors is supported by the rise in complaints made to regulators charged with the protection of the public. A review of reported incidents of financial fraud by elderly individuals can be summarized by some of the following schemes:
- Theft of money or property, sometimes by a caregiver or in-home helper;
- Lottery and sweepstakes scams;
- Scams by telemarketers, mail offers or door-to-door salespersons;
- Computer and Internet scams;
- Identity theft;
- Reverse mortgage fraud;
- Contractor fraud and home improvement scams;
- Exploitation by an agent through a Power of Attorney; and
- Investment fraud, including deceptive “free-lunch seminars” selling unnecessary or fraudulent financial services or products.
While the vast majority of investment advisers, financial planners, and broker-dealers are honest and reputable, it is beneficial to research senior designation touted by financial advisors to ensure they adhering to the requirements mandated by the designation. Be wary of investment scams, including the ones listed above. Elder financial fraud can be perpetrated by unscrupulous financial advisors who represent themselves as professional financial advisors who cloak their intentions with the guise of professionalism and integrity. A common practice amongst some “sales people” is to portray themselves by a “senior designation” to support their contention that they have expertise to provide investment advice for the retirement needs of older investors.
Elderly investors are many times targeted as members of an organization (affinity fraud), whose membership has limited investment knowledge and experience. Common red flags of investment or securities fraud include:
- Guarantees of Principal and Interest;
- High-Yield Promissory Notes;
- Unregistered Investments;
- Fictitious Custodian of Funds;
- Difficult to Understand Investments;
- Senior Advisor Designations Without Any Credentials or Licenses;
- Advisor Insists “His Family Members” Invested;
- Contacted by Phone or Email By Stranger; and
- Sense of Urgency Communicated by Financial Advisor.
Klayman & Toskes, P.A. is dedicated to the rights of elderly investors and their families. State of Florida Statute 825.103 is designed to punish perpetrators of “elder financial fraud” and protect the exploitation of elderly persons. A financial advisor or other person engages in elder financial fraud if they:
- Knowingly, by deception or intimidation, deprive the victim of use or benefit of personal funds;
- By an individual who know or reasonably should know that elderly person lacks capacity to consent; and
- Breach of fiduciary duty to an elderly person which results in an unauthorized appropriation.