Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Protecting Elderly Loved Ones From Illegitimate Financial Services

Sad-old-man According to a 2010 study by the Investor Protection Trust, one of five elderly Americans has been a victim of fraud, paid excessive fees for financial services or products, or been sold inappropriate investments. The average household led by individuals who are seventy-five and older has a net-worth of $638,000, so it is no wonder that this class of people is often targeted by both legitimate and illegitimate distributors of financial products.

Distributors use a number of tactics to convince elderly people to invest with them, but loved ones can use the following approaches to help ensure that an elderly relative or friend does not succumb to a bad or fraudulent investment deal:

  • Address future financial concerns and solutions before a scheming distributor has the opportunity to addresses them first
  • Go with an elderly loved one to seminars or programs that deal with investing
  • Put older individuals on the Do Not Call list (donotcall.gov or 88-382-1222) and stop junk mail at dmachoice.org
  • Practice a way to end phone calls pitches (“No, I’m not interested”)
  • Keep a close watch on new activities and any new friends to ensure that scam artists have not befriended and begun influencing elderly loved ones

For more information on persuasive tactics used and ways to address them, see Ismat Sarah Mangla, Protecting Your Parents: Keep the Sharks at Bay, CNN Money, Aug. 10, 2011.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (WealthCounsel) for bringing this article to my attention.


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