This is a topic I don’t usually write about. But my mother died a few months ago and I’ve come to realize how important this is. Now, I don’t know a lot about this topic but I ran into a column by Michelle Singletary in the Washington Post that addresses the abuse of our elder parents by relatives and caregivers. It’s worth reading. But I think it’s so important that I’m going to do something I don’t think I have ever done: I’m copying directly her tips below.
— Is the senior receiving information about or being asked to invest in unregistered securities or start-up companies? (You’ll have to do some research to find this out.) Securities fraud can be detected by checking with your state securities regulator. Contact information is available at http://www.nasaa.org.
— Is the investment high-risk or possibly speculative, involving such things as oil and gas exploration, new or untested technologies, rare metals, or currency trading?
— Has the senior been asked to sign blank paperwork or to give discretionary authority over her accounts to an adviser?
— Is the senior complaining that his investment adviser won’t give him his account statements or documentation?
— Has the senior made out a check directly to the adviser or broker for the purchase of an investment?
There’s information on NASAA’s Web site that will assist you in helping seniors avoid these problems. Go to http://www.nasaa.org and search for “Senior Investor Resource Center.” To report elder abuse you can contact an adult protective services office at http://www.apsnetwork.org or through the National Center on Elder Abuse at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov or 800-677-1116.
Check it out people and let’s protect our parents.