Close Close
Popular Financial Topics Discover relevant content from across the suite of ALM legal publications From the Industry More content from ThinkAdvisor and select sponsors Investment Advisor Issue Gallery Read digital editions of Investment Advisor Magazine Tax Facts Get clear, current, and reliable answers to pressing tax questions
Luminaries Awards

Regulation and Compliance > State Regulation

Test your elder fraud IQ

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Elder financial abuse is a big issue, one that’s likely to become bigger as the senior population continues to expand. Your clients may be smart, risk-averse, tech-savvy … and they may still be at risk.

Here’s one stat that puts things into perspective: 34 percent of elder financial fraud crimes are committed by family, friends or neighbors. Financial hardship can come at the hands of someone your clients know and trust, which is why education and intuition are critically important.

The following quiz comes from First Judicial Attorney Peter Weir, based in Jefferson County, Colorado. Test your own knowedge, then share this with your clients to help keep their assets safe.

For more on elder fraud, visit

1. The top ways identity thieves get your info is through purse snatching, mail theft, dumpster diving and email “phishing.”      

A: True. Thieves look to steal purses/checkbooks. They also look in mail boxes for checks, pre-approved credit card applications and account statements. They also look through trash for unshredded info containing account numbers and send “phishy” emails asking for verifications of account numbers by impersonating banks, credit card companies and government agencies. 

2.  It’s a good idea to carry your Social Security card with you.

A: False. It’s best to have nothing in your purse or wallet that contains your SS number, which can be used to apply for and receive credit in your name.

3. Once you have subscribed to your state’s “no call” list, you don’t have to worry about telemarketers.

A: False. The No Call List will not stop criminal telemarketers  — to protect yourself, simply do not talk to strangers.

4. There is a law that requires charities to spend a certain percentage of their income on programs and services.

A: False. It’s the donor’s responsibility to determine how donations are used. Ask charities for a copy of their annual report and contact the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance at

5. Foreign lotteries are illegal in the U.S. 

A: True. Federal law prohibits mailing payments to participate in any foreign lottery. Telemarketing con artists trick people into sending payments or fees before “collecting” on their bogus lottery winnings.

6. As long as you don’t buy any magazines or send any money, playing sweepstakes is harmless entertainment.       

A: False. When you play sweepstakes, your name is frequently put on marketing lists, increasing the chances it will end up on criminal telemarketing lists.

7. Every state has a State Contractor’s Licensing Board that licenses and approves contractors.  

A: False. Some states still do not require statewide regulation of all contractors.

8. If a uniformed utility employee appears at your door to conduct an inspection and shows a badge and ID, it’s safe to invite him in.        

A: False. City and utility workers don’t go door-to-door; but con artists do. Never let a stranger into your home  — no matter who they claim to be. 

9. Most investment fraud is perpetrated by long-term, trusted advisors.      

A: True. The majority of investment fraud cases involve advisors who have had long-term relationships with their victims. 

10. If you have a trusted family member, a financial advisor, or someone with your Power of Attorney who is managing your money, it is critical that you review your account statements.      

A: True. In all cases of theft by family members or advisors, victims have given up total control to others. Review accounts and surround yourself with advisors and caregivers who can provide checks and balances so no one person has total control of your finances. 

For more on elder fraud, visit




© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.