Articles Tagged with Senior Citizens

Chicago-based Stoltmann Law Offices is representing investors who’ve suffered losses from dealing with financial advisors who fleece older clients. In our practice, we’ve seen countless scams where older investors are lured into fraudulent investments. Unfortunately, investment and financial advisors frequently exploit and rip off elderly clients, who are often trusting yet vulnerable.

Common ruses involve “estate planning” seminars that come with a “free” lunch or dinner. Afterwards, brokers are known to peddle scam investments to those who show up. Lately though, investors are aggressively pitched through emails, texts and phone calls. These swindles mushroomed during the pandemic. According to the FBI, the number of scams targeting Americans over the age of 60 exploded during the pandemic, with upwards of 92,000 victims in 2021 alone involving estimated losses of nearly $2 billion, a 74% increase from 2020.

In the typical phone scam, fraudsters call older Americans, who are most likely to pick up the phone and listen to a pitch – and send money. Even former FBI and CIA director William Webster was targeted in a Jamaican lottery scam in 2014 when a caller claimed he won a sweepstakes, reports CBS News. The unsolicited caller became threatening when Webster declined to pay $50,000 to collect the winnings.  “If it can happen to me, it can happen to you,” Webster warned in a public service announcement.

Chicago-based Stoltmann Law Offices represents elderly investors who’ve been defrauded by financial advisors, insurance agents, and investment advisers. Did you know that brokerage firms are required to maintain a list of “trusted contacts” for their older clients? That ensures that investors have a safeguard against broker abuses. A relatively new rule from FINRA, the federal regulator for the U.S. securities industry “requires firms, for each of their non-institutional customer accounts, to make a reasonable effort to obtain the name and contact information for a trusted contact person (TCP) age 18 or older.”

Why does such a rule exist? To protect senior investors, who are frequently the target of scam investments, excessive trading, and sales of products that take on unnecessary risk.

“A trusted contact,” according to FINRA, “is a person you authorize your financial firm to contact in limited circumstances, such as if there is a concern about activity in your account and they have been unable to get in touch with you. A trusted contact may be a family member, attorney, accountant or another third-party who you believe would respect your privacy and know how to handle the responsibility. You may establish more than one trusted contact.”

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