Retirement-killing money mistakes

Boiler room fraud

Foolish investments are bad enough. Outright crooked ones are worse. Unscrupulous salespeople pitching worthless penny stocks, oil wells or promissory notes not listed on reputable exchanges often target retirees. Gullible buyers are reeled in with promises of "guaranteed" returns that reputable stocks and bonds can't match. Bob Webster, director of communications for the North American Securities Administrators Association, says this type of fraud accounts for more than half of the cases that state law enforcement officials investigate involving seniors. They're typically approached by phone from high-pressure sales offices or “boiler rooms” like those depicted in the recent movie The Wolf of Wall Street. But the hook can be dangled by someone the retiree knows, such as an acquaintance from church. Look for more problems to come. An 80-year-old prohibition on advertising these kinds of investments is being dropped. Schemes to push these "deals" on T-shirts worn by window washers are already in the works.