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Six Steps You Can Take to Financial Prosperity

Six Steps You Can Take to Financial Prosperity

USA Today

Beware of scams that target seniors

It takes decades to build up your retirement assets. But it takes only one scam to rob you of them.

As the first of 79 million baby boomers prepare to retire, regulators report a rise in fraudsters pitching questionable — and sometimes non-existent — services.

“The people selling investment products know that there are a lot of people quitting their jobs and retiring,” says David Massey, deputy securities administrator in North Carolina.

One way for fraudsters to find potential victims is through free-lunch and free-dinner seminars. They offer you a meal, then try to sell you an investment product.

A year-long investigation of hundreds of these seminars in states with large populations of seniors by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and state securities regulators found that 100% of them led to sales presentations — even though some had been advertised as “educational” sessions at which no products would be pitched.

Regulators also found that “exaggerated” or “misleading” advertising claims were made at half the seminars. Example: “Immediately add $100,000 to your net worth.”

Walk away from any get-rich-quick or guaranteed-return sales pitches. And always check the credentials of a financial salesperson — with the SEC, FINRA and state securities and insurance regulators — before making any investment.

Find more information about industry credentials, and what advisers must do to earn them, at FINRA’s website:

By Kathy Chu

Next: Avoid taking on too much debt

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