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Nationwide Surge in Investment Fraud Against Baby Boomers Continues

David P. Meyer

Baby boomers make up 25 percent of the U.S.’s current population. That’s approximately 77 million people, many of who are living on significantly smaller incomes than they had anticipated. The 2007-2009 financial crisis crippled most Americans’ retirement savings accounts. Unfortunately for the baby boomers, retirees and those nearest to retirement age suffered the most devastating losses.

With few years left to rebuild their nest eggs, many baby boomers are turning to high-yield products and investment opportunities out of the hope that they can make up some of what they lost in the late 2000s. Quick gains, however, don’t exist without risk – especially the risk of investment fraud. The boomers’ collective desire for fast returns has quickly turned them into the con artist’s favorite mark.

In 2010, state regulators saw a single year increase of more than 50 percent in investment fraud actions and complaints where the victims were over 50 years of age, according to the NASAA. And, according to a Dec. 14WSJ article, there’s every reason to believe the trend only worsened this year.

According to the article, "free lunch" scams, self-directed IRA investment schemes, Ponzi schemes, unregistered securities scams, private placements schemes, and promissory note schemes are all on the rise. They’re also all investment schemes that target people over 50 years of age. (To learn more, read the entire article here.)

Investment fraud against baby boomers is "rampant," Matt Kitzi, Missouri's securities commissioner and chairman of the association's enforcement committee, told the WSJ.

To protect themselves, investors over the age of 50 should be particularly vigilant about verifying any and all information a broker, adviser, or other financial professional provides about an investment opportunity. Investors should also conduct a thorough background check on the salesperson, broker, or adviser.

For additional tips on avoiding investment fraud as a baby boomer, click here.