Most fraud against seniors likely goes undiscovered, suggests a new survey of state securities regulators released on Monday by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).
The NASAA survey finds that 97% of regulators surveyed feel that most cases of senior financial fraud "go undetected rather than being discovered before they cause serious problems."
The survey also notes that a similar share of regulators say that there is now greater awareness of senior investment fraud than there was a year ago.
Despite the increased awareness, regulators are not seeing a decline in senior fraud cases, according to the survey, and 29% of regulators report that fraud has increased.
Regulators surveyed also indicate that they think that broker-dealers and investment advisors could be doing more to help prevent senior fraud.
Regulators in jurisdictions that have adopted laws that are designed to help industry firms report suspected instances of senior fraud say that they have been able to prevent senior financial exploitation as a result.
"It is imperative that we detect and prevent senior financial fraud before criminals who prey on our most vulnerable citizens steal from and devastate them," says Mike Rothman, NASAA president and Minnesota Commissioner of Commerce, in a statement. "The clear message from our NASAA members, who are the securities regulators on the frontlines, is that we need everyone to step up and apply greater resources to stop financial fraud against seniors."
The survey was conducted by NASAA from July 24 to Aug. 4.
Photo copyright: highwaystarz/123RF