Financial Elder Abuse
Why It Happens
The fastest growing form of elder abuse is not physical, it is financial. The elderly are incredibly susceptible to fraud and schemes. Not only have they been raised to expect honesty in the marketplace, they are often too embarrassed to tell anyone when they have been taken advantage of or defrauded. In addition, they frequently live alone or suffer from physical or mental disabilities, making them prime targets for scammers and corrupt brokers.
What It Looks Like
Financial elder abuse is often difficult to recognize, because the abusers are usually so well versed in their craft, they either confuse the elderly customer or convince them everything the broker is doing is on the customer’s “best interest”.
These brokers will often come into contact with an elder by way of telemarketing or boiler room tactics. Sometimes they may have a relationship with the customer already, or have a mutual friend in common, therefore earning the elder’s trust and confidence almost immediately. Often times they may even work for reputable companies, and just be excellent at covering their tracks, or they may work for a smaller company that is not properly supervising its brokers.
How to Prevent It
If you are an elderly investor, or if you have a loved one who is, it is important that you do the research before signing with any broker or member firm. The Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has a free tool for investors to use, called the BrokerCheck Report. This search engine allows you to search any stockbroker or broker-dealer firm that is currently registered with the SEC and FINRA. Simply type in the name of the investor, or the broker-dealer firm they work for to receive a record of all of their prior FINRA disputes, customer complaints and arbitrations.
What to do if It’s Happened to You or a Loved One
If you feel that you or a loved one has been taken advantage of by a broker or member firm, please contact the attorneys at Fitapelli Kurta. Our law firm specialized in investment fraud and we prosecute cases on behalf of investors nationwide on a contingency fee basis. The law does provide you with an avenue of recovery for these claims, but the window of opportunity is small and time is of the essence, so do not wait. Call now for your free case evaluation.