Albertans 55+ say they are approached with fraudulent investments more often
(4 days ago)
CALGARY: The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) has announced the results of its annual Investor Index study, which included several questions focused on Albertans aged 55 and over.
The Investor Index was conducted by the ASC in association with its month-long seniors outreach campaign, coinciding with Seniors' Week in early June and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15. The study found that over one-third (36 per cent) of older Albertans report having been approached with a potentially fraudulent investment, which is higher than the average approach rate (26 per cent) for all Albertans.
This data is not surprising to us, said Alison Trollope, Director, Communications and Investor Education, Alberta Securities Commission. Seniors have often spent a lifetime building retirement funds. They may own their home or have a pension. Scam artists go where the money is.
Key study data on financial fraud and abuse as it pertains to Albertans aged 55 and over, who are retired or approaching retirement in the next 10 years, showed that:
1-in-5 Albertans aged 55 and over do not feel financially secure in terms of having enough money for retirement and anticipate needing additional financial support.
29 per cent do not feel confident they will have enough money to last through their retirement years, while 16 per cent say they will need some financial support from their children or other family members.
Only 7 per cent of Albertans living in rural areas feel totally financially secure, compared to 20 per cent and 22 per cent in Edmonton and Calgary, respectively.
It was noted that a person's reported financial security increased with their financial literacy.
More than half of Albertans aged 55 and over say they do not talk to family or friends about finances.
This factor indicates a potential vulnerability to abuse; other potential warning signs include isolation, recent independence, not checking financial statements, or reluctance to report wrongdoing.
Women, respondents without savings and those with low financial literacy exhibit the most warning signs of vulnerability to financial fraud.
The pressure to secure a comfortable retirement in a short period of time or to 'leave something for the kids' can cause people to rush into investing decisions that are too good to be true, said Trollope. We want to empower seniors to make wise investing decisions by taking important but easy steps like checking registration of anyone offering an investment and learning the red flags of investment fraud such as high rates of return with low or no risk.
To focus on the needs of older Albertans, the ASC has created a seniors-focused webpage at CheckFirst.ca/Seniors that includes how to 'CHECK-PROTECT-INVEST' before investing, plus other resources on how to protect against investment fraud. Albertans without internet access can call (877) 355-4488 to request printed copies of a seniors' investing toolkit.
Albertans 55 years of age and older are also encouraged to take the ASC's fun and interactive quiz How Safe is Your Nest Egg? to determine if they are protecting their financial future. Take the quiz before Friday, June 29, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. to be entered to win one of five $50 Visa gift cards. Visit CheckFirst.ca/seniors to take the quiz.
To help all Albertans increase their financial literacy and be aware of the signs of investment fraud, the ASC offers unbiased investor education resources and tools on the recently relaunched website CheckFirst.ca including factsheets, information, calculators and worksheets.
The Investor Index research was conducted by Innovative Research Group, Inc. The study was conducted between May 11 and 18, 2018, and surveyed 1,599 people living in Alberta and included an oversample of 750 Albertans aged 55+.
The ASC is the regulatory agency responsible for administering the province's securities laws. It is entrusted with fostering a fair and efficient capital market in Alberta and with protecting investors. As a member of the Canadian Securities Administrators, the ASC works to improve, coordinate and harmonize the regulation of Canada's capital markets.