FINRA, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and the staff of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy have joined to raise awareness that increased social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic can have a devastating impact on senior investors.
Social isolation, whether voluntary or involuntary, has long been a leading factor contributing to the financial exploitation of older investors. The unprecedented quarantines to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus have made many seniors more vulnerable to financial exploitation.
While financial abuse can happen at any time, perpetrators often strike during times in a senior’s life when they may be more vulnerable, such as during a health crisis or after the death of a loved one. Scammers often gather personal details from obituaries and social media posts and use this information to target their victims. Some also may attempt to exploit trust within seniors’ social and support groups to become more involved in their lives.