ASC launches campaign to empower Alberta seniors against fraud

Securities commission focusing on improving seniors’ financial literacy

Mario ToneguzziNearly 40 per cent of Albertans over 55-years-old believe they’ve been approached with a potentially fraudulent investment. So the Alberta Securities Commission has launched a month-long senior outreach campaign across the province.

The ASC said its campaign is focused on empowering seniors to improve their financial literacy, recognize the signs of investment fraud, empower them to make wise investment decisions and encourage all Albertans to be aware of the signs and symptoms of elder financial abuse.

The campaign takes place during Senior Month in June and in conjunction with World Elder Abuse Day on June 15.

“Building relationships with seniors’ groups is a critical part of our work to help Albertans advance their financial literacy and protect themselves from investment fraud,” said Alison Trollope, director of communications and investor education, in a news release.

“This year, we are continuing to expand our reach, aiming to ensure all Albertans are empowered and have the knowledge to protect their retirement nest egg.”

The commission said it aims to connect directly with seniors and their caregivers through a variety of community events, a financial literacy quiz and seniors resources on Checkfirst.ca/seniors, including the Spot and Stop Seniors Investment Fraud fact sheet.

Albertans can test their financial and investment knowledge and check if they are on the right track to protecting their financial future through the ASC’s fun and interactive quiz called How Safe is Your Nest Egg.

When the commission conducted an online quiz last year, it found that more than 50 per cent of Albertans older than 55 didn’t realize that if they had been a victim of a financial scam, they could be targeted again.

“This is an example of a ‘Recovery Room Scam,’ wherein the original fraudster often sells the victim’s information to another scam, who then offers to recover their investment at a price. This may include paying taxes or a service fee, which is simply a fraudulent demand for more money and the victim loses again.

“It was also found that 61 per cent of respondents would consider an investment opportunity that ‘guarantees’ a legacy for their family, despite the fact that the promise of a ‘guaranteed’ return is an indication of a potential fraudulent investment,” said the ASC.

– Mario Toneguzzi for Calgary’s Business

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