Thirty-six per cent of older Albertans report having been approached with a potentially fraudulent investment, which is higher than the average approach rate of 26 per cent for all Albertans, says the Alberta Securities Commission’s annual Investor Index study released June 13.
"This data is not surprising to us," said Alison Trollope, Director, Communications and Investor Education, ASC. "Seniors have often spent a lifetime building retirement funds. They may own their home or have a pension. Scam artists go where the money is."
Potential warning signs
The study also revealed that more than half of Albertans aged 55 and over say they do not talk to family or friends about finances. “This factor indicates a potential vulnerability to abuse; other potential warning signs include isolation, recent independence, not checking financial statements, or reluctance to report wrongdoing,” says the ASC.
Women, respondents without savings and those with low financial literacy exhibited the most warning signs of vulnerability to financial fraud, the survey found.
Learning the red flags of fraud
"The pressure to secure a comfortable retirement in a short period of time or to 'leave something for the kids' can cause people to rush into investing decisions that are too good to be true," said Trollope. "We want to empower seniors to make wise investing decisions by taking important but easy steps like checking registration of anyone offering an investment and learning the red flags of investment fraud such as high rates of return with low or no risk."
The ASC has created a seniors-focused webpage at CheckFirst.ca/Seniors that is aimed at protecting against investment fraud. Also to help all Albertans increase their financial literacy, and be alert to potential investment fraud, the ASC offers investor education resources and tools on its website CheckFirst.ca.