Secretary of State Jason Kander cautions investors not to fall victim to investment fraud. To mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15, Kander issued an Investor Alert to elder investors, urging them to protect themselves from investment fraud and abuse.
“All too often we see elder Missourians fall victim to financial abuse from caregivers, individuals of trust, and sometimes even financial advisers,” Kander said in a press release. “My office will continue working with senior Missourians and their families to prevent financial abuse in Missouri.”
The Missouri Securities Division within Kander’s office serves as the chief regulator of investment adviser representatives and broker-dealer agents within Missouri. The Securities Division also investigates alleged financial abuse, takes action against individuals committing investment fraud and operates the Missouri Investor Protection Center.
Secretary Kander offered the following tips for protecting elder Missourians from investment abuse and encouraged Missourians to be diligent in reporting suspected cases of abuse to the proper authorities:
1) Understand the financial needs of the investor. Every Missourian operates at a different level of income need and availability. Know what you want from your investments and if they are truly meeting your financial needs.
2) Check out the background of your investment adviser representative. Before you invest with anyone, call the Missouri Investor Protection Hotline and check the registration status of the person offering you investment advice. Trusting someone to make your financial decisions can be a stressful and, if not properly monitored, costly decision. Say “no” to any individual who presses you to make an immediate decision and be wary of anyone who advises you against contacting the Missouri Securities Division.
3) Monitor your investments and ask tough questions. To protect your hard-earned savings and investments, regularly review your investment portfolio and insist on receiving statements from your investment adviser representative. Beware of unauthorized trading, inconsistencies on statements, wires to third-party accounts, address or beneficiary changes, or changes in fee structure.
4) Look for trouble retrieving your principal or profits. Before you invest, make sure you understand how and when you can access your funds. Any change in availability of funds may be an indication of suspicious activity.
5) Don’t be afraid to report abuse or ask for help. Many elder Missourians may fear being a victim of fraud will reflect poorly on their ability to care for themselves. In reality, anyone can be defrauded. If you suspect financial abuse of yourself, a friend, relative, or family member – report it immediately
For more information, contact the Missouri Investor Protection Hotline at 1-800-721-7996 or at www.MissouriSafeSavings.com.