The Gray on Gray Crime Epidemic

Even if the headline made you snicker, I assure you, the seniors-robbing-seniors thing is both real and highly disturbing.

There has been a noticeable uptick in scams being perpetrated on senior citizens by advisors of their own age group.  This is the threat that many would never have seen coming.  It creeps up slowly – silently even – on the hushed rubber wheels of a motorized scooter.

OK, enough of that.

Jason Zweig and Mary Pilon have the story at the WSJ:

Many financial planners who got into the business during the bull market of the early 1980s are senior citizens themselves now. With their own wealth ravaged by the bear market of the past decade, many of these people can no longer afford to retire. That, say regulators, may be prompting some older financial advisers to engage in riskier and less ethical behavior.

Elderly investors are natural targets in part because they may be more susceptible to fraud. A 2008 study by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found that older adults are significantly worse than younger people at detecting whether someone who may have stolen money is telling the truth.

One truism here is that the most dangerous financial advisor is the advisor with his own financial problems.  Financial advisors who are in debt, in trouble with the IRS or in any kind of money trouble are more likely to cut corners, make unethical suggestions or engage in other desperate behavior.  With older advisors unprepared for their own retirements, desperation is now leading to bad behavior.

Click over at the link below for some horrifying anecdotes.


Granny and Clyde: When Seniors Scam Seniors (WSJ)

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