5 Ways to Protect Senior Investors from Securities Fraud Scams
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Predatory financial advisors and brokers running scams often target the elderly. Senior citizens pensions and Social Security payments may have few expenses, which often leaves them with extra cash to invest. That makes them a prime target for crooked financial advisors who would exploit them for money. The FINRA arbitration lawyers at Epperson and Greenidge have some tips and information to help you protect your family members and file claims through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Tips to Protect Elderly Parents and Grandparents
FINRA, on its website, actually says that protecting seniors and retired/retiring baby boomers is a “top priority.” These groups hold a vast share of all investments in the United States, but also have unique issues to address. Because of this, FINRA and our attorneys have warnings and things to look for that may help you protect your parents and grandparents in their investing:
Meet Their Broker
If your parent or grandparent is working with a broker or financial advisor, go with them to a couple of meetings and get to know the broker. Get their contact info, talk to them, and ask questions your parent/grandparent may be afraid to ask. Make sure that they are FINRA certified, ask them about conflicts of interest, ask for a copy of any agreements. Watching your parent’s back like this can help uncover hidden issues with how the broker or advisor treats your parents. Additionally, if the financial professional were to attempt any scams on your parents or grandparents, your presence may deter that.
Review Suspicious Mail/Calls
Many financial advisors who attempt to run Ponzi schemes or other investment scams send out mailers or emails to contact potential targets. Others resort to phone calls with seemingly impossible offers. In many cases, the promises these communications make are in fact impossible. However, they may be written or formulated in ways to appeal to elderly investors. This kind of targeted scheme may make an investment seem perfectly sound to a senior investor. It may take review by someone else to notice the issues with the investment.
If brokers or other finance pros have had prior complaints filed against them, there may be records of these. FINRA, state licensure boards, and federal regulatory agencies like the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) may have records of prior complaints. Checking these records can help you identify if the individuals you are working with are potentially exploitative advisors.
Check Investment Records and Disclosures
Bills from brokers along with monthly, quarterly, or annual reports on investments can help you uncover potential issues. Since brokers are paid for each transaction they make, some brokers push additional, reckless, or unnecessary transactions through to accumulate higher bills to investors. This practice is called “trade churning,” and can become very expensive to investors. However, these issues may be easily identified by looking at the investment records, which should show a record of transactions. Suspiciously frequent transactions can help you identify these kinds of issues.
Additionally, the paperwork that comes with an investment may help uncover other potential issues. The literal fine print of these documents may include information disclosing conflicts of interest, licensure issues, hidden fees, and other potential issues with an investment. Even though these disclosures may be mandatory, and it is illegal for the broker to fail to disclose information, they may bury the information in piles of documentation.
Talk to a FINRA Attorney
The attorneys at Epperson and Greenidge represent victims of underhanded, illegal, and unethical investing practices. If you suspect that your loved one may have been the victim of these kinds of issues, contact our law firm for a free consultation. Your parent or grandparent can hire our attorneys to represent them in claims against the brokers or financial advisors that took their money.
Our lawyers can file claims with FINRA to seek arbitration. Arbitration is an alternative to a lawsuit, where you appear before a neutral third party to address your claims. Either a single arbiter or a panel of 3 arbiters will hear your case, listen to testimony, and examine evidence each side presents. If the broker or financial advisor was registered with FINRA (as most brokers are), the arbitration decision is binding. This can help you recover compensation and other relief for the financial harms your loved one suffered.
FINRA Claims Lawyers Can Help if a Broker Scammed Your Mother or Father
To file a FINRA arbitration claim, contact a FINRA claims attorney today. The FINRA attorneys at Epperson & Greenidge represent investors in arbitration claims against negligent or harmful stockbrokers, financial advisors, and other FINRA-registered financial professionals. For a free consultation, call (877) 445-9261 today.