Growing problem of senior financial fraud highlighted in new PSA
Division of Securities establishes a Senior Financial Fraud Hotline
DENVER - (May 9, 2017) -- The Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), as part of its “Take 5 to Get Wise - Ask DORA” consumer education campaign, recently debuted a new public service announcement (PSA) that highlights the growing issue of senior financial fraud.
The PSA features Lois, an 80-year-old Coloradan who recounts to viewers how she was scammed out of her entire life savings, approximately $450,000, to affinity fraud schemes.
“I entrusted a family member to invest my retirement funds with people who turned out to be crooks,” she said. “They came to my home, and they were so convincing. I even fed them. Yet they took no mercy, and I lost my life savings.”
Seniors, or their relatives and caregivers who suspect that financial fraud may be taking place, can call DORA's Senior Financial Fraud Hotline, 720-593-6720, established by DORA's Division Securities.
“I filed a complaint with DORA, and these criminals were sent to prison,” noted Lois in the spot. View the PSA on YouTube.
“I commend Lois for her bravery to come forward and tell her story as she may be able to prevent others from falling victim to financial fraud and encourage victims to file a complaint with our Division of Securities team,” said Joe Neguse, Executive Director of DORA. “We urge anyone who suspects they may be a victim to call our Senior Financial Fraud Hotline.”
Affinity fraud is on the rise among senior citizens not only in Colorado, but nationally. Affinity fraud refers to investment scams that prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, the elderly, or professional groups. The people that promote affinity scams frequently are -- or pretend to be -- members or friends of the group.
Over half of the cases investigated by the Division of Securities in the 2015-2016 fiscal year involved a victim over 65.
“One of the most difficult parts of this job is to sit across the table from an elderly person and not knowing how to answer the question, 'What do I do now?'” stated Securities Commissioner Gerald Rome with the Division of Securities at DORA. “It’s so important to call DORA and file a complaint or simply ask us to look into something, because the sooner we do the better chance these victims have of recouping at least some of their losses.”
Tune into Colorado & Company on KUSA Channel 9 between 10-11 a.m. on May 17 to hear more from Lois about her experience, and from the Division of Securities on how seniors can protect themselves from a variety of financial schemes.
Visit askDORA.colorado.gov for more information about "Take 5 to Get Wise."