A survey by the Alberta Securities Commission says 36 per cent of older Albertans report having been approached about a potentially fraudulent investment.
The ASC said this is higher than the average approach rate of 26 per cent for all Albertans.
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 on June 15.
“This data is not surprising to us,” said Alison Trollope, director of communications and investor education at the 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.”
Some key findings in the report for Albertans aged 55 and over, who are retired or approaching retirement in the next 10 years:
- one in five in that age group 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;
- seven 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.
“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.”
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 fraudulent investment . Albertans without Internet access can call 877-355-4488 to request printed copies of a seniors’ investing toolkit.
Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.
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