Financial crimes are prevalent across the nation. While almost anyone can be victimized, older people are a common target.
Sadly, older people are frequently fearful of reporting to law enforcement and regulators what has happened to them. Perhaps they are unaware of the extent of the illegal activity. They might be concerned about being harmed for coming forward. Or they could feel embarrassed about the situation.
AARP and FINRA strive to help victims of financial scams
AARP and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) have teamed up to encourage older people to speak out about being the victims of financial fraud.
According to AARP and FINRA, one of the barriers to accurate reporting of fraud is commonly known as “victim blaming.” For instance, relatives or friends might say to people who have been scammed, “How could you not have realized it was a scam?” This embarrassment may lead to people staying quiet, or even continuing to be victims, hoping it will eventually work itself out.
Terminology is essential. If a person is said to have “fallen” for something, that places the onus on them for the wrongdoing of others who were obligated to serve a client’s interests.
It is not just shady operators who commit these crimes. In many instances, it is employees from known and supposedly reputable companies. There are alternatives for people who have been mistreated in this way, and knowing about them starts with reporting what happened to the authorities.
If financial wrongdoing has occurred, legal help is necessary
Since it is so easy to get involved in investing today, people can make major missteps. This is true for older people who could be limited in their knowledge of the markets and what is legal and illegal, but it is also true for those who are experienced investors. Erasing the perceived stigma attached to being a victim is imperative.
There are various forms of broker misconduct including encouraging investors to put money in investments that are unsuitable for them; misleading or failing to give all the facts; excessive trading on the person’s behalf; breaching their fiduciary duty and much more.
If you have already lost money or suspect that a broker was behaving improperly or outright illegally, it is important to have experienced help.