Senior investors and vulnerable adults are at an increased risk of financial exploitation through misleading, deceptive or illegal practices. Scammers may manipulate clients into withdrawing funds from their investment accounts and, as their trusted Financial Professional, you should closely review and question requests that seem sudden or unusual.
Financial Exploitation and Abuse
Although anyone can fall victim to financial exploitation, senior investors and vulnerable adults are more susceptible given their age or circumstances. It is crucial Financial Professionals remain vigilant for signs a client is being deceived, intimidated or manipulated in regard to their money. Financial exploitation can include unauthorized use, taking, withholding or appropriating funds, assets or property, either by a person or an entity (i.e., power of attorney, guardianship or trustee).
Signs of a Scam
Signs a client's distribution requests might be related to a scam include:
While these signs don’t always mean a scam is happening, they could warrant additional conversations with your client. Avantax Financial Professionals should immediately report suspicious activity to the Avantax Compliance Department.
As a Financial Professional, you've likely had countless conversations with your clients regarding their desires and intentions with their money. Years of meetings and account reviews allowed you to become familiar with their spending and saving habits. Help them put practices in place to safeguard their finances — such as adding a Trusted Contact Person to their accounts, encouraging the use of direct deposit and automatic bill paying, or naming trustworthy individuals as power of attorney.
The following resources may be helpful if you need to report suspected financial abuse: