Time Needed: 1/2 Day to a Full Day
Skills Needed: No special skills required
Causes: Financial Security
Project Categories: Geared for 50+ Volunteers, Indoors, Handicap Accessible
Unfortunately, we all probably know someone who could be a victim of investment fraud. Fraudsters are pretty clever and are always finding new ways to trick people out of their savings. In fact, investment fraud affects thousands of Americans and accounts for billions in lost savings every year! According to FINRA Investor Education Foundation research, a majority of victims are financially knowledgeable, highly educated and self-reliant — probably a lot like people you know.
Before investing, 78% of older investors did not check a financial professional’s background and 68% did not check an investment product’s registration.
There are simple steps — such as checking to see if a financial professional is licensed or if a product is registered — to help others protect their finances before making any investment decision.
You can teach these steps and more by planning an event for friends and family. Just use the FINRA Foundation’s Outsmarting Investment Fraud curriculum and “Trick$ of the Trade: Outsmarting Investment Fraud” documentary. We’ll tell you how to order these materials later on in the guide.
It can take you just a few hours to host a documentary viewing party or a few days to plan a community-wide investor workshop. Only have five minutes? Be sure to check out the Tip Sheet: Easy Steps to Help a Friend Outsmart Investment Fraud for simple ways to help a friend or neighbor.
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s workshop "Outsmarting Investment Fraud", has been shown to reduce the incidence of fraud by approximately 50%.
No one should be cheated out of their hard-earned money. Simply making a phone call, hosting a documentary viewing party or learning to “ask and check” can help you protect your neighbors – and yourself.
You may be wondering what an investor protection workshop and documentary viewing party are, what they look like and how much planning is involved. Well, they’re fun and easy events that will help you spread the fraud prevention message to your friends and neighbors. Your event can just be you and five friends, or you can invite the entire community! What matters is that you are sharing tips that will help others protect themselves from fraudsters. See the 'Curriculum and Documentary' section below for more details, then follow these simple steps to get started on planning your investor protection event.
STEP 1: GET PLANNING
Be sure to order the curriculum or documentary at least two weeks before the event.
STEP 2: INVITE FRIENDS, FAMILY OR YOUR COMMUNITY
If you are hosting an event for a:
STEP 3: PREP FOR THE EVENT
Here are a few simple things you can do to get ready for your event.
STEP 4: HOST YOUR EVENT
STEP 5: CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESS
Give yourself a pat on the back for all of your hard work. While the workshop is fresh in your mind, think about what worked well and what didn’t. That way you can adjust your plan, as necessary, if you decide to do this again.
STEP 6: INSPIRE OTHERS ON CREATETHEGOOD.ORG
TELL US WHAT YOU DID!
We want to hear stories! Send us an email at email@example.com and tell us about how you helped give back to your community. You just might inspire others to do the same.
KEEP UP THE GOOD!
Remember, whether you’ve got five minutes, five hours or five days, you can make a positive impact in your community. And if you have more time, consider organizing another service activity, finding local opportunities and posting your events at www.createthegood.org.
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation has developed the following tools to help you spread the message:
There are 30- and 60-minute versions of the Outsmarting Investment Fraud curriculum available in various formats to meet your audiovisual needs.
Here are some tips that will help you smoothly plan and execute a community-wide workshop for 25 people or more. Check out our event planning templates and materials, including agendas and timelines, from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. For more information or if you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-728-6964.
Use these discussion questions with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s “Trick$ of the Trade: Outsmarting Investment Fraud” documentary. You can watch the film at home or show it at a community event of your membership organization’s monthly meeting. These questions can serve as a guide in facilitating a group discussion, no matter how large or small your event.
Protecting friends, family and yourself from investment fraud shouldn’t be intimidating. In fact, we have a few easy activities you can do in under an hour to help a neighbor or family member outsmart investment fraud!
Investment fraud criminals use a wide array of sophisticated and highly effective tactics to target and influence prospective victims. The truth is that you encounter these tactics every day; they are used by legitimate businesses — in retail stores and in advertisements.
Read and share these common persuasion tactics with your friends and neighbors to learn what to look for and how to keep a level head when you encounter them. For more information, visit www.SaveAndInvest.org.
Definition: Dangling the prospect of wealth by enticing you with something you want but cannot have
Example: “These gas wells are guaranteed to produce $6,800 a month in income.”
Red Flag Rule: Take time to think through the pitch. What is the salesperson really saying? Is he dangling incredible returns? Guarantees? Is he saying that the investment itself will lead to a different — and much better — lifestyle?
Definition: Capitalizing on the belief that it is better to deal with credible people in positions of authority
Example: “Believe me, as a senior vice president of XYZ firm, I would never sell an investment that doesn’t produce.”
Red Flag Rule: A seller may have a corner office, framed diplomas or certificates and wear a suit. But credibility can be faked. Check out the seller’s actual qualifications at www.SaveAndInvest.org.
Definition: Leading you to believe that if everyone wants it, it must be good
Example: “I know it’s a lot of money, but I’m in — and so is my mom and half her church — and it’s worth every dime.”
Red Flag Rule: Does the pitch focus on how many others are interested? Investing is a personal decision. Ask yourself if you are interested in the investment and if the objectives and risks are right for you.
Definition: Offering to do a small favor in return for a big favor
Example: “I’ll give you a break on my commission if you buy now — half off.”
Red Flag Rule: Was the pitch preceded by a free meal, book or video? Do you feel obliged to do the salesman a favor? If someone does a small favor for you, don’t feel compelled do a big favor for them in return.
Definition: Creating a false sense of urgency by claiming limited supply or limited time; if something is rare, it must be more valuable.
Example: “There are only two units left, so I’d sign today if I were you.”
Red Flag Rule: Is the offer good for only a limited time or in a limited quantity? Take time to evaluate the offer — don’t allow yourself to be rushed into making any financial decision. A legitimate offer will be there tomorrow.
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation contributed the information about these red flags to help investors reduce their risk of investment fraud by learning the persuasion tactics fraudsters commonly use.
For additional information about ways to help your family, friends and neighbors outsmart investment fraud, check out these tools.
Learn More about Investment Fraud
Explore Persuasion and Investment Fraud on a Deeper Level
Create The Good
Create the Good (www.createthegood.org) is a network of people sharing tools and ideas to help make a difference on their own or in larger groups in their communities. It is powered by AARP and the AARP Foundation’s more than nine million volunteers, donors and activists. www.createthegood.org offers local volunteer opportunities as well as ideas for self-directed activities and how-to videos for simple service projects people can organize on their own, such as weatherizing homes, starting healthy walking groups, fighting fraud and preparing for a hurricane and other needs.
FINRA and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation
FINRA is an independent regulatory organization empowered by the federal government to ensure that America’s 90 million investors are protected. The mission of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation is to provide underserved Americans with the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for financial success throughout life. FINRA and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation do not sell products, promote products or firms or offer specific investment advice.
The FINRA Foundation’s Investor Protection Campaign, SaveAndInvest.org, is a targeted effort to reduce the incidence of investment fraud among older investors by teaching the tactics most commonly used by fraudsters and the simple steps every investor can take to reduce their risk.
To increase your fraud-fighting knowledge, please visit www.SaveAndInvest.org.
Tip Sheet: Easy Steps to Help Others Outsmart Investment Fraud: Print out copies of this tip sheet to share with your guests.
Tip Sheet: How to Spot Persuasion Red Flags: Print out copies of this tip sheet to share with your guests.
Trick$ of the Trade: Documentary Discussion Questions: If you are holding a viewing party print out these questions to facilitate discussion with your guests.