HIGHLAND | Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson cautioned North Township seniors Wednesday to ask detailed questions when approached with an investment opportunity to avoid falling victim to fraud.
Lawson told the nearly 400 seniors at the Wicker Park Social Center that the most common type of fraud her office sees is when an investor feels a fraudster had gained trust through shared activities or interests.
“During this election cycle, you heard a lot of discussion about the financial health of our state and the financial health of our country. Now in the news — the national news — what you are hearing are issues about the fiscal cliff and other financial difficulties that may be coming about,” Lawson said. "It's exactly times like these that fraudsters and crooks like to prey on people like us because we are nervous about our investments.”
Lawson recommended seniors call her office to verify licenses of securities professionals — even if they know the person.
“The difficulty is these scam artists don't fit a typical profile of a criminal, and they do their harm with a pen, an iPhone or a computer,” Lawson said.
Lawson told seniors to be wary of situations when someone promises they can double their money in 30, 60 or 90 days or when an investment is presented as a new opportunity that they are “lucky” to get into so soon.
Lawson told the seniors to ask where the individual received their name, the risks involved in the investment and for a written explanation.
North Township Trustee Frank Mrvan said Lawson spoke at the event because seniors are vulnerable to investment scams.
“To prevent that,” Mrvan said, “people need to be aware, educated that the secretary of state has measures to protect them.”