Older People Are Targeted

It seems that as soon as I turned 65 I became a target for everyone with something to sell. My mail is filled with invitations for “free” dinners at local restaurants — all that is required is I disclose my net worth and investable assets. If I want to travel a little further from home I can get a “free” vacation — all I have to do is attend a “Vacation Ownership Presentation.” There is land in Tennessee with beautiful views (but often they fail to mention the lack of roads or utilities). Not to mention it appears I have won the Canadian lottery, even though I never bought a ticket — all I have to do is give them my credit card information for the taxes and they will send me a check.

Now some of these things are coming from salespeople that want me to invest or buy something while others are from scammers who only want to help separate me from my money. Being a financial professional I know how to deal with all these offers but I am surprised how often I get a call from a client because they just won the Canadian lottery, are getting ready to buy a timeshare, or have found a one-of-a-kind investment where they can’t lose and they just want my help. While some of these calls come before the damage is done and money has changed hands, others come after the client has invested, purchased, or given out their credit card information. At that point all I can do is to help they mitigate the damage.

Too many older people are sitting at home with time on their hands and enjoy the break in monotony with a phone call from a friendly voice or a piece of mail that offers a freebie and makes them feel special — but as we all know there is no such thing as a free dinner (or an offer that is not intended to get something from you). Make sure you don’t fall for these offers that will end up pressuring you to do something that could end up costing you part of your hard-earned savings. When in doubt get a second opinion from a trusted advisor like your tax advisor or attorney.