Annuities. Reverse mortgages. Life insurance pools. Principal-protected notes. The options being offered to senior citizens hoping to ensure a comfortable retirement are dizzying. And in a growing number of cases, that may be the intention as more scammers — often elderly themselves — try to con retirees.
Though hard numbers are difficult to come by, many lawyers and advocates for the elderly say more seniors than ever are being lured into investment schemes that are unsuitable for people of their age or are outright swindles.
“Seniors who suffer from isolation and diminished capacity make ideal targets,” says Steve Riess, a San Francisco attorney who represents elderly victims of con artists peddling bogus investments.
One out of five Americans over the age of 65 has been the victim of a financial scam, according to the Washington-based Investor Protection Trust, a nonprofit that promotes shareholder education.