Retirement should be the time of your life, but it can also be a very vulnerable time. According to the FBI, “each year, millions of elderly Americans fall victim to some type of financial fraud or confidence scheme, including romance, lottery, and sweepstakes scams, to name a few.”1 It is so important to protect yourself from potential scams, as this could affect not only your financial future, but your retirement as a whole. Here are some of the ways you can protect yourself from potential scams in retirement:
The internet is one of the most common places where people get scammed. It can happen to anyone who is not careful and does not take proper precautions. Start by creating a system of secure passwords for each of your accounts and be sure not to share them. You should be extremely careful who you meet over the internet whether it’s social media, a dating site, etc., as this is a common tactic for scammers. You should also never share any financial information over the internet with anyone you don’t know. Many financial professionals do business over the internet, which could be the only exception.
Education is your greatest tool to protect yourself and your retirement. Before making any significant decisions about your finances, health, or future in general, make sure you ask questions and find all the answers. It’s important that you know the financial professional you are doing business with to ensure their integrity. If they’re securities licensed you can start by looking them up on BrokerCheck to get more information. Be wary of any unsolicited offers and those who use scare tactics to manipulate you.2 You should never be made to feel rushed or pressured to make a decision. You are in control of your financial future.
If you feel you have been a victim of a scam, the FBI has a system where you can report this including the Internet Crime Complaint Center. You can also contact your local FBI field office or submit a tip online.1 Reporting scams can help protect you and help prevent other people from being taken advantage of.
“When reporting a scam—regardless of dollar amount—include as many of the following details as possible:”1
In 2020 alone, 1,921 victims lost more than $100,000 as a result of elder fraud.3 Fortunately, this doesn’t have to happen to you. There are many steps you can take to prevent scams including cybersecurity, doing your research, and reporting scams when they happen. You should also be able to use your financial professional as resource to help protect you. It’s your retirement and no scam just get in the way of that!