created 10 months ago | Tagged:
Con artists are targeting the life savings of baby boomers and older seniors in a wave of investment scams. State securities regulators are reporting a surge of investment fraud against investors ages 50 and older, according to the North American Securities Administrators Association, a voluntary association of state securities agencies responsible for grass-roots investor protection.
"The reason they're targeting seniors is pretty simple," says Matt Kitzi, Missouri's securities administrator and chairman of NASAA's enforcement committee. "The seniors are the segment of the population that have managed to save and accrue the most investments. Bad guys, crooks and hucksters are going to follow the money. And seniors have had a lifetime to accrue investments and funds."
And state securities regulators expect the surge in fraud targeting investors ages 50 and older to continue. With more than 76 million baby boomers approaching retirement age, con artists have a large pool of potential targets. The oldest baby boomers turned 65 in 2011.
Unregistered securities in the form of promissory notes, private offerings or investment contracts are the most common product used in senior abuse cases, according to an enforcement report from NASAA. Senior abuse cases involving unregistered securities outnumber cases involving "traditional securities" by 5 to 1. "Most of the fraud that we see is conducted by people who don't have proper licensing and sell unregistered securities," Webster says.