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Protect Your Parents From Financial Fraud

8388743325_e13ef18f01Update: Here’s some news you’ll want to share with your parents to avoid the heartbreak of fraud and abuse at the hands of financial professionals.

A new guide by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, called “Financial Self-Defense for Seniors,” has been developed to help older adults understand the designations, certifications and fiduciary responsibilities (which require them to act in the best interest of their client) of financial experts. Some so-called designations are nothing more than marketing tools, the board points out, adding that no education or exam is required.

The guide describes “red flag” situations and the actions that you, or your parents, can take to protect against such fraud. It also offers information on where and how to file an official complaint.

 Among the tips:

On a related note, AARP is offering a free webinar about ways you can protect yourself from being a fraud victim. It’s April 23; learn more here.

Remember Bernie Madoff, the investment adviser and scoundrel behind the biggest Ponzi scheme in American history? He used his religious affiliation to garner trust from people in his religious community and social circle, then fleeced them out of their life savings.

It’s a lesson to all of us. Don’t trust financial experts just because they belong to our congregation, live in our community or support our causes. As the guide points out, some fraudsters use these connections to reel us in.  Don’t fall for it.

Likewise, you’ve heard this one before, but it bears repeating: If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not legitimate or safe. Stay away.

Photo credit: Oakley Originals via flickr.com


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