In over 25 years for helping people to preserve, protect and grow their assets, many publications have crossed my desk. All were designed to help those approaching or in retirement. Perhaps the best one ever is from the Ca Dept of Corporations and is free. “Protect Yourself from Fraud” is easy to read, well written covers a large variety of topics and should be a must read for everyone.
The Dept of Corporations is the States’ Investment Financing Authority. It protects consumers by regulating companies and individuals that offer investment advice, securities, and consumer loans amongst other things.
The Department is committed to making the public more aware of the types of fraud and schemes that are being committed against consumers but particularly seniors.
Common Investment scams are reviewed including seminars with ”Free Meals”. It is always amazing the number of people who do not know that there is “no free lunch” and those that are advertised as free always have a hook.
Several telephone scams are reviewed including those telling you that you must return a call to “area code 809” for what appears to be a legitimate reason, only to discover the toll charges to the Virgin Islands could be hundreds of dollars per minute.
Other common scams involve con artists posing as a Charity or home repair while others go so far as to use a distraction and actually commit a burglary.
With the recent events in the housing market, there are increased scams with predatory mortgage lending. There are also companies preying on those that are behind in their mortgage payments and trick the unsuspecting into ”jumping from the frying pan into the fire”.
The publication has a good section on how to check your credit, protecting your credit and what to do if your identity is stolen.
One of the best tips that I wish everybody would listen to is to “Investigate before you invest and not after”. It could be your bank, insurance salesman or a call over the phone that tells you about a product/ investment that sounds to good to be true. If you only had read the fine print or asked for a second opinion (from an expert who is not selling) before you write the check, you would be better off.
There are other sections on important topics such as reverse mortgages, annuity purchase, end of life paperwork, and things you can do when you have financial difficulties.
Elder abuse and financial elder abuse are increasing in frequency as there are more people living longer every year. Unfortunately financial abuse often goes on without the victim’s knowledge. The exploiter can often be a family member or trusted personal attendant. If you experience, witness or suspect elder abuse immediately contact Adult Protective Services.
Lastly is a wonderful “resource section” that lists the contact information for a number of agencies that are designed to help safeguard those that would be intended victims.
I encourage everyone to pick up the phone and call 866-275-2677 and ask that you be mailed the booklet entitled “Protect Yourself from Fraud”. Do not miss this very worthwhile free publication.
Michael Chamberlain CFP®
Ca Registered Investment Advisor
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-347-1340
This article is for informational purposes and should not be taken as legal, tax or investment advice.