Secretary of State Connie Lawson discusses investment fraud
Walking in from the downpour Thursday morning, senior citizens gathered to hear Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson discuss investment fraud, an issue heavily impacting the senior community.
In partnership with WFYI, a radio broadcast in Central Indiana, Lawson worked to expose the measures of scam artists and their victims in Indiana.
The documentary “$cammed: Investment Fraud Revealed” follows criminals who played on the emotions of their victims to launder money for their personal gain.
Here are scam tactics you should know before you invest your money into any company.
1. Unsolicited call and emails or social media
If you do not know who is contacting you and they are persistent, you should ignore them.
2. No risk guarantees
This is a sign of a scam which you should avoid.
3. Unregistered products
Every certified financial professional must register themselves and their products before offering them to clients.
4. Avoid people explaining complex strategies
5. Avoid investments which are missing documentation
All documentation for a product must go through the Securities Division office.
The documentary featured a Muncie resident named Ralph Reed who lost more than $200,000 to CFS LLC, which sold investments through rental properties. Soon after losing his money, he died at 95.
While watching the documentary, some citizens shook their heads in disgust to the large sums of money scammers made.
Delaware County TRIAD Chairman Scott Cooper said, “It really irks me!”
TRIAD is a group ran by American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and law enforcement agencies across America to protect seniors against fraudulent scams.
Cooper said it’s hard to convince seniors the money they hear about for federal grants isn't there.
“If the government is going to give you a grant, they are not going to charge you a fee. It’s a scam, they want your money,” Cooper said.
Lawson states her office receives around 200 calls a year describing fraudulent investments from church bonds, to oil and even gas scams.
After taking legal action victims don't gain what they invested. Whatever their initial investment was worth, Lawson said victims only receive “pennies on the dollar.”
Lawson’s office has set up a restitution fund to pay back the victims, but they may only receive up to $15,000.