On April 23, 2014 clinic graduate research assistant Dylan Donley and fall 2013 intern D. Russell Stroud presented “There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch: Getting to Know the Red Flags of Fraud and Common Scams Against Seniors” to law students in Professor Mary Radford’s Law and the Elderly course at Georgia State University’s College of Law.
Stroud started the discussion by describing the profile of an investment fraud victim. He asked the audience for reasons why the elderly may be particularly vulnerable. Students noted that the elderly may be targeted because they have money to invest, may be trusting and open to new ideas and friendships, and may be unwilling to report fraud due to embarrassment or fear of losing their independence.
Donley then introduced the red flags of investment fraud, including common fraudster tactics such as phantom riches, social consensus, source credibility, scarcity and reciprocity. After discussing the red flags, Donley presented the audience with a real-life example of a fraudster’s solicitation for a “free lunch” presentation. She used the solicitation to highlight how red flags are used and teach the audience how to identify them.
Stroud led the second part of the presentation, which focused on other common scams directed towards seniors, including phising and vishing, charity scams, identity theft, relative in distress calls and sweepstakes scams.
The presentation ended with a discussion of tools available for advocates and investors alike. The audience received copies of SaveandInvest.org’s Taking Action: An Advocate’s Guide for Assisting Victims of Financial Fraud. Stroud highlighted portions of the guide that would be especially helpful for future elder law attorneys. Donley discussed additional online tools such as FINRA’s professional designation database, which allows users to decode the abbreviations after a professionals name and learn more about them, FINRA’s BrokerCheck and SaveandInvest.org.
If you or an organization with which you work are interested in an investor education program tailored to your audience, please contact the clinic at (404) 413-9270.