Seniors at Risk of Financial Fraud

State securities regulators say most senior financial fraud goes undetected before it becomes a serious problem, according to a study by NASAA.

A survey of state securities regulators by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) found that there is much more that can be done to protect seniors from investment fraud.

“It is imperative that we detect and prevent senior financial fraud before criminals who prey on our most vulnerable citizens steal from and devastate them,” says NASAA President and Minnesota Commissioner of Commerce Mike Rothman. “The clear message from our NASAA members, who are the securities regulators on the frontlines, is that we need everyone to step up and apply greater resources to stop financial fraud against seniors.”

The survey found that 97% of the regulators say that most cases of senior financial fraud go undetected before they cause serious problems. However, ninety-seven percent also said there is greater awareness of senior financial fraud today than a year ago. Twenty-nine percent said their agency has seen an increase in senior fraud cases.

Seventy-five percent of the state securities regulators said broker/dealers and investment advisers can do more to prevent senior financial fraud, and more than three-fourths said their jurisdictions enforce laws like NASAA’s Model Act to Prevent Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation and that in many cases, the laws prevented fraud. The regulators said that people age 70 and older are at the greatest risk of financial fraud.