This month, we are running a series of blog posts to urge British Columbians to be aware and report financial abuse involving seniors.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day occurs every June 15 and Seniors’ Week in BC was June 3 to 9. We encourage you to share these posts with friends, family, or people who work with the elderly to bring attention to the issue.

In this post, we will highlight some common approaches used to get older people to invest in a scam or unsuitable investment.

One common approach used to attract older investor audiences is an investment seminar or financial trade show. These events take place in hotels, and offer free meals or prizes to attendees. You may also find them offered in community centres or other places where organizers think they can attract an attentive audience.

The speakers at these events can be very convincing and charismatic. They may talk about “wealth strategies”, “passive income techniques”, or “financial freedom”. High-pressure techniques are often the way presenters and the seminar producers employ to get people to sign up for courses, coaching, or an investment.

There’s an e-learning video on our YouTube page that talks more out about investment seminars, and how they work.

Another common approach is to reach older individuals through a tight-knit group or community associations. An investment product that is being sold secretly, or exclusively, to friends and family should raise concerns. Scam artists often tell people to keep the deal quiet in order not be discovered.

Cold calls, unsolicited e-mail, and social networking websites pose a threat to the elderly. Unscrupulous promoters will try to hook people over the phone. They also use social network sites to sell questionable investment products to seniors.

If you find out that an elderly person is involved in an investment that may be a scam or unsuitable, you should suggest they seek help from a person independent of the investment. Help them analyze the offer or purchase before going any further.  You also should report suspect investments or unscrupulous promoters to us. Encourage the person you are concerned about to do the same.

In our next post, we’ll talk about some of the scams people need to look out for.

Suggested Reading

A Simple Guide to Understanding RRSPs

In your community – July 2012

Investment Advisor Compensation: How is My Advisor Paid?

More Resources

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