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Thursday, November 18, 2010

DFI to Teach Washington Medical Professionals How to Detect Investment Fraud

Senior citizens have long been the target of unscrupulous investment scam artists. According to the 2010 Investor Protection Trust (IPT) Elder Fraud Survey, more than seven million older Americans – one out of every five citizens over the age of 65 – already have been victimized by a financial swindle.

The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) today announced it has joined a new nationwide “Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention Program” that will work with medical professionals in Washington to detect cases of investment fraud.

The program will educate medical professions in Washington about how to spot older Americans who may be particularly vulnerable to financial abuse and then to refer these at-risk patients to DFI and/or to local Adult Protective Services (APS) professionals.

“When it comes to protecting older investors, it’s crucial to take action before the money is gone,” DFI Director of Securities Bill Beatty said. “DFI is joining the ‘Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention Program’ because it provides us new tools to tap into medical professionals who are working directly with the elderly and can be taught the warning signs of investment scams. Through this program, we hope to get better information earlier and do more to shut down scams sooner than later.”

Twenty Four state securities regulators, including DFI, have joined the program to help protect seniors in their states and jurisdictions from investment fraud. The program was created by the Baylor College of Medicine and funded by a grant from the Investor Protection Trust.

The program brings together a variety of disciplines to increase awareness about and to prevent elder investment fraud including experts in the field of aging, neuropsychology, elder abuse, the economics of aging, and investor education/investment fraud prevention.

Medical professionals with questions about the new initiative should contact DFI’s Director of communications, Lyn Peters, at (360) 902-87321 or email