The Senior$afe Initiative SUNDAY, MAY 29TH, 2016

By Gerald Rome, Colorado Securities Commissioner ~

On June 16, the Colorado Division of Securities will again be participating in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This initiative, hosted by the National Adult Protective Services Association, was formed in 2015 to help call attention to the ever-growing issue of elder abuse and financial exploitation, and to provide resources to organizations, caregivers, family members, and elders themselves to fight these crimes.

Recent surveys have determined that around 10,000 people are turning 65 every day in the United States. Our population is aging rapidly, and the 65 plus generation hold more financial wealth than any other group. But this also makes them a target of financial scams and frauds. These days many seniors rely on individual family caretakers, hired caregivers, or assisted living/nursing facilities as they age rather than family based communities. Because of this change, we’ve determined that caring for the elderly population requires a community-based approach where all are responsible to watch out for and care for our seniors.

In this spirit, my office has joined with other states to introduce a program called Senior$afe in Colorado. Senior$afe’s aim is to create a protective community network that will look out for the welfare of our seniors. The Division is currently working to expand our partnerships with organizations that provide services and benefits for seniors, in order to create a network of providers that can work together to assist seniors who may be facing abuse or exploitation.

Additionally, together with the Colorado Divisions of Banking and Financial Services, we are beginning a series of trainings that will teach financial professionals, from advisers to bank tellers, how to recognize red flags associated with elder abuse and exploitation, and to provide them with the resources to report or assist seniors in reporting these crimes. Finally, we want to provide seniors themselves with the tools they need to recognize the red flags of financial scams, and easy avenues to report potential issues.

Heading into this month, you can take a moment to measure your own vulnerability to financial exploitation by answering these simple questions:

  • Have you recently lost a spouse or partner, or do you feel socially isolated?
  • Are you financially responsible for an adult child, grandchild, or other family member?
  • Have you had a recent change in physical or mental health? Do you feel more depressed than usual?
  • Are you noticing frequent mistakes in how you handle finances, or are you feeling overwhelmed by managing your household budget or investments?
  • Are you anxious about your finances?
  • Do you attend “free lunch” seminars or speak to telemarketers when they call?
  • Are you feeling pressure from family members or caregivers to share money or change your will?

This article verifies this is the best you can expect from the state financial services commissions. Its hard to even believe they have good intentions in these matters. The self promotion is validated by the reliance on Banks to help protect you. Are they protecting you or are they simply protecting themselves? The fact is that the government agencies and regulators are fully self interested as their only concern is fines and fees. They have very little concern for the investing public an consumers, of course the excuse if public protection but the solutions prove that there is huge conflicts of interest and personal bias. Lastly, all of these efforts remain reactive which means they chase your money after you have lost it. You need proactive protection which ensures you get proper due diligence and full inoculation and insulation prior to making the financial decision that leads to loss! 


YOUR Best Interest Is OUR Only Concern!

Memorial Day Is a Time to Fight Scams That Affect Military Families and Veterans

Better Business Bureau Serving Metro New York is urging military families and veterans to be on the lookout for deals that seem too good to be true. For example, military personnel and new veterans are often at risk of coming across scams involving fake rental deals and may also encounter unscrupulous movers.

“Military families and recent veterans are often relocating, and that’s when they need to be wary of rental and moving deals that seem far too inexpensive.” said Claire Rosenzweig, BBB President. “As a first step always check the business track record at – but also watch out for red flag signs, such as requests to wire money, or rental agents and movers who don’t want to appear in person to show properties or estimate a moving job.”

May is National Moving Month. Details about how military families can recognize moving or rental scams are available here; the same tips are valuable for any consumers considering a move.

Additional scams targeting military families and veterans can include:

Scammers posing as the Veterans Administration (VA): Scammers may contact veterans saying they need to update their credit card, bank or other financial records with the VA in attempt to steal identities. Never hand over sensitive personal or financial information to anyone unfamiliar, even if they claim to be from a government agency.

Fraudulent investment schemes: Watch out for solicitations that offer “special opportunities” that are “only available to veterans and service members.” Remember, there’s no such thing as a sure thing investment. Check to see if the investment advisor needs to be licensed or registered with the New York State Department of Financial Services. For tips on detecting investment scams, visit this BBB educational program website; resources for checking up on financial professionals and understanding investment issues are available here and also on FINRA’s educational website here.

Offering “instant approval” military loans: Veterans and service members may see online loan offers claiming “no credit check,” and “all ranks approved”). Not only can these loans be bogus, but even the legitimate ones may also have high interest rates and hidden fees. Always read and understand the terms and conditions of any loan before signing to accept, and check with the New York State Department of Financial Services to see if the company issuing the loan is registered to do business in New York.

Scammers posing as government contractors: Scam artists may pose as government contractors who are recruiting veterans for nonexistent government jobs. Often they’ll ask for a copy of the job applicants’ passport – which a goldmine of personal information – in an attempt to steal their identity.

Affinity groups are often targeted by scammers and fraudsters. The ease of referrals within affinity groups is the reason for the targeting. One of your priorities in inoculation from scams is to recognize the groups you belong to and identify with, and then beware of sales people or promoters who seem to be constantly using your group affiliations to gain your confidence. As usual not all approaches are scams, but the best way to inoculate against it is to be aware and alerted to the behaviors that are evident. The vast majority of the time the truth is that if it quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck and loves water it is a duck. 

“YOUR Best Interest Is OUR Only Concern!

Older investors more at risk of scams and fraud warns watchdog

Investment scam fraudsters frequently target older people with savings. Here’s all you need to know to keep yourself safe from scammers.

The Financial Conduct Authority warns people aged over 55 are more at risk of investment fraud.

More investors are being led into investment schemes they may not completely understand, seeking higher returns through low savings rates.

Over 65s with more than £10,000 in savings are three and a half times more likely to fall victim to investment fraud than anyone else. Scammers are heavily targeting these people, with 40% reporting they were received far more unsolicited investment calls.

Phone calls are a common tactic used by investment fraudsters who promise people huge returns but then just disappear with your cash.

“You don’t need to be gullible to lose money to a scam or fraud,” said Mark Steward, director of enforcement at the FCA.

“Fraudsters target financially sophisticated people too, who often don’t like to ask what might sound like silly or basic questions. If you are contacted out of the blue about an investment opportunity that sounds too good to be true then it probably is. We would urge you to be skeptical.”

Scams, fraud and predatory sales tactics also abound across the pond in Europe. The concept of defrauding people out of their life savings is a universal global issue. Wherever, you are the risk exists.

While being a skeptic will get you so far it will not proactively protect you and it can actually cause you financial harm in the cloaking of opportunity cost. Not every financial opportunity is a scam, fraud or a manipulation, there are real deals with good outcomes. You need to understand the risks and be able ascertain the real deal from the phony deal. Being a member of the Advocacy Network provides you with the tools necessary to make this differentiation with consistent success.

Don’t allow yourself to stay exposed to the financial risk of financial victimization and certainly don’t close yourself off from the opportunities that could make huge financial gains for your future wealth, let us proactive protect you and help you with the financial tools that will allow you to make smart decisions about money.


5 ways seniors can avoid scammers

Florida leads nation in reported fraud per capita

By Christina Vazquez – Reporter
PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Financial scams targeting seniors are prevalent and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation says with more than 4.9 million people ages 60 and older, Florida ranks first in the nation in the percentage of its citizens who are seniors.

“Unfortunately, wealth is one of the reasons scammers target unsuspecting senior citizens,” Florida Office of Financial Regulation officials said.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) states that “Financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent that they’re now considered ‘the crime of the 21st century.’ Why? Because seniors are thought to have a significant amount of money sitting in their accounts.”

NCOA also stated that it is not just wealthy seniors who are targeted.

“Low-income older adults are also at risk of financial abuse,” NCOA officials said. “And it’s not always strangers who perpetrate these crimes. Over 90 percent of all reported elder abuse is committed by an older person’s own family members, most often their adult children, followed by grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and others.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Florida is the state with the highest per capita rate of reported fraud in the country.
Here are five tips on how to protect yourself:

1.Guard your personal information. Never give someone who calls you out of the blue your credit card, banking, social or Medicare number.

2.Be Skeptical. This is especially true when dealing with unsolicited offers. “If you receive an unsolicited offer, there’s a good chance that you’ve been targeted by a scam artist,” the AARP explains on its website. “Most scams of this nature rely on your response to their initial promise of lottery winnings, fast-case from an easy work-at-home job, guaranteed returns from a hot new investment or an inheritance you didn’t know about, so that they can gain access to your personal information and solicit money from you.

3.Monitor Accounts: Routinely check your credit report and bank statements to spot suspicious activity.

4.Do not be courteous. Con artists can exploit your good manners. According to the FBI, “People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say ‘no’ or just hang up the telephone.” So, don’t believe that telemarketer on the phone is your friend, don’t trust the stranger at the door and do tell someone pitching you a product or service to submit their offer in writing and then consult with a family member or friend before giving anyone your money. According to South Carolina’s Attorney General’s Office, “Senior citizens are of the generation that was taught to be courteous at all times to phone callers, as well as to people who visit them at home. Swindlers know how to take control of the conversation, either by pretending to be very friendly or by using bullying tactics. Remember that a stranger who calls and asks for your money is to be regarded with the utmost caution. You are under absolutely no obligation to stay on the telephone with a stranger who wants your money. In these circumstances, it is not impolite to explain that you are not interested and hang up the phone. Save your good manners for friends and family members, not swindlers.”

5.Be Social – Be part of the Call Christina community: The best thing you can do with consumer protection information is share it with other seniors in your life. Experts say being social is a great way to avoid falling victim to a scam in part because you are sharing what you have learned and because you have a group of people to bounce ideas off of. Spread the word of fraud prevention.

Experts say you also want to be wary of high-pressure sales tactics to include “limited time only” offers. If the product or service is legitimate it will still be there tomorrow.

While all of us at the Advocacy Network commend Christina and the work she is doing it is not nearly enough to proactively protect you from financial victimization. A good dose of skepticism will only get you so far and if that really worked we wouldn’t see a growing amount of financial losses due to scams, fraud and predatory sales tactics each year. The Advocacy Network is 100% committed to fully inoculating and insulating you and your family from scams, fraud and predatory sales tactics. Our strategic alliances and partners include law enforcement, private detective services along with fully experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the world of financial literacy as well as the dark side of the world of scammers,fradusters plus industry wide knowledge of the predatory sales tactics that are prevalent in the financial services industry and the banking and other industries that you make decisions about money with. Join today and you can have the peace of mind that you can and will never be financially victimized, its our GUARANTEE to you!

The Golden Rule and Business

In 1919 Napoleon Hill started a magazine called Hill’s Golden Rule. As per most of Hill’s work he provided an unusual perspective on life and how success was a fully integrated aspect of one’s entire life.
Hill made an interesting correlation between the golden rule and how one could run their entire business life through the lens of the golden rule and how that would make a huge difference in our society as a whole. In one specific article Hill challenged the clergy across America to mix with every sermon preached “a liberal sprinkling of the Golden Rule philosophy and show their followers exactly what is the economic value of practicing this philosophy in business? (Hill’s words are italicized).
For those who wonder the Golden Rule philosophy Hill speaks about is simply “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” His premise was this philosophy should encompass our entire life. On a daily basis do you think this thought would make a difference in your present business success?
What I find of most interest is that when reading Hill’s work much of which is almost now 100 years old I find his precepts and concepts are not only still timely they are basically timeless. Of course this can be perceived as Pollyannaish by much of today’s accepted standards. I however choose to see the world in terms of abundance and therefore recognize the intrinsic value of the universal laws such as cause and effect and sowing and reaping. These laws are undeniable and they are inflexible. The laws of the natural human condition defy any and all advances in technology, industry, medicine, and science. While the world changes as do those of us who seek to be the most successful, the laws that rule the human condition are etched in stone and will always follow the same path. Too often society seems to be come conditioned to think of itself as too advanced to call upon the law of cause and effect and the law of sowing and reaping, or the law of compensation.
In general the last 100+ years has maintained the same identical statistical results of those who obtain unusual success. It is still a 5/95 deal with 5% of the population enjoying the benefits of unusual success. The reason behind this is due to the acceptance of the laws with which one cannot negotiate. Hill’s perception of the Golden Rule philosophy was simply embedded in the understanding of cause and effect. The issue has and always will be that we reflect our own inner attitudes and therefore the way we treat others is the identical result we receive in the way others treat us. There is simply no denying this basic rule of human existence.
In the coming days and weeks I want to revisit and reflect upon much of Napoleon Hill’s work and how it may make a huge difference in your life. My goal at the Advocacy Network is to stop financial victimization and as such it requires that people I work with and represent (our members) take a true look at their behaviors, values and beliefs because this is what determines their financial success.
I would like to close with the words of Napoleon Hill written almost 100 years ago:
Let us remember that there is a cause for every effect. If the effect of our efforts in life is not pleasing, we should remember that it is a good plan to analyze and inquire into the cause. If we are not succeeding, it is about a hundred-to-one bet that we may find the cause by stepping to a looking glass.
May it not be possible that we can control enough causes to considerably change our attitude towards others and the attitude of others towards us?
When you write out the “chief aim” that you intend to put into use on January first, let me suggest that one of the planks in your platform read something after this fashion:
“During the ensuing year I will make a special effort to develop a fair sense of proportion by making it a habit to analyze, inquire into, and examine the cause of all effects that in any way affect the object of my lifework, my peace of mind and my material success.”
YOUR Best Interest is OUR Only Concern!