The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a new type of financial fraud is popping up more frequently, seniors taking advantage of other seniors. Regulators say there has been a significant increase recently in the number of cases in which older investors have been taken advantage of by elderly scam artists.
“That’s a definite new trend,” says Denise Voigt Crawford, the Texas securities commissioner. “We’re seeing more cases of older people ripping off other older people. Someone joked that seniors ripping off their peers is becoming ‘the new retirement plan.'”
The article describes a variety of cases and types of fraud committed, but what is causing the sudden rise in occurrences? According to the article:
Many financial planners who got into the business during the bull market of the early 1980s are senior citizens themselves now. With their own wealth ravaged by the bear market of the past decade, many of these people can no longer afford to retire. That, say regulators, may be prompting some older financial advisers to engage in riskier and less ethical behavior.
The WSJ also says that many of these senior advisors stress credentials they’ve obtained. While the article says some credentials are difficult to obtain, many can be obtained with little work and a few hundred dollars. In fact the WSJ identified more than 200 credentials available to financial-services professionals, including at least six with the word “senior” in their name: certified senior adviser; certified senior consultant; certified senior specialist; certified senior financial planner; chartered senior financial planner; and chartered adviser for senior living.