Open Accessibility Menu

Catch Me If You Can Con Artist Offers Advice on Senior Investment Fraud

David P. Meyer

“Catch Me If You Can” Con Artist Says Education is Key to Protection Against Senior Investment Fraud

Frank Abagnale, the notorious con artist who inspired Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can,” told a Senate panel earlier this month that education – not regulation – is the key to protecting seniors from investment fraud, adding that the scams he pulled 40 years ago would be “4,000 times easier to do today due to technology.”

The panel hearing was aimed at preventing financial scams and investment fraud schemes that target the elderly –investment scams and schemes that are on the rise across the country.

Abagnale, who has spent the last 36 years teaching fraud detection techniques to the FBI, said public service announcements that point out common scams and tell seniors how to avoid them would help protect elderly investors.

Though regulators obviously believe in using regulation to protect fraud victims, they, too, believe that education is essential in the fight against fraud.

“Whether a cold-call, polished website, or e-mail solicitation, fraudsters will use every means at their disposal to convince investors to part with their money,” SEC Director of Enforcement Robert Khuzami said recently. “That is why investor education is so critical—in maintaining financial health as much as physical health, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

In keeping with that belief, the SEC, FINRA, NASAA, and other regulators have been working hard to bolster investor education – especially among seniors. Over the past year alone, regulators have increased investor education efforts by:

• Conducting free investor fraud summits across the country;
• Hosting free investement alert webinars to teach investors about the risks of certain complex, high-risk products;
• Issuing warnings against “free lunch seminars,” and
• Increasing the power and scope of free online investor research tools and websites, like BrokerCheck and

To learn how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from investment fraud, browse our investor library or order a FREE copy of our important investor guide: Five Signs of Investment Fraud … And What to Do if It’s Happened to You.