The Iowa Insurance Division will hold several educational forums beginning later this month on investment fraud. Division communications director, Tom Alger, says the program is called “Iowa Fraud Fighters -Shield Your Savings.”
“The Fraud Fighters is a version of something we’ve been trying to do for a long time — which is to get the message out about the potential risks associated with investing and the potential risks associated with people who are trying to scam investors and consumers out of their money. And we’re trying to provide some tools in this campaign,” Alger says.
The program is designed for retirement investors. “Which are part of our mission here at the division. We do have a securities registration and enforcement function here at the division. And securities are our main focus, we are looking at everything, but our main focus is on the investment side.”
Alger says you shouldn’t come to the forums expecting to get hot tips on how to build your investment portfolio. “This really isn’t designed to tell a person how they should invest their money, it’s more designed to say what you need to know so you don’t make mistakes,” he explains. “And the mistakes would be in the nature of working with people who are unlicensed, or unregistered products or with fraudulent marketing.”
The commissioner of the insurance division says a recent study showed con artists target Americans age 60 and older, and swindle over 5 million Americans out of almost $3-billion each year. Alger says all the scams that are out there nationwide also end up here in Iowa.
“Whether it’s some of the oil and gas schemes or precious metal schemes, or ponzi schemes or false real estate investment schemes. Or people taking money and not having any kind of product they are selling and just pretending they are,” Alger says.
The first forum is set for the Park Place Event Centre in Cedar Falls on September 24th. Forums will also take place at the Sioux City Convention Center on October 29th, at the Honey Creek Resort in Moravia on November 21st, and three additional locations in spring 2014.
Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. with presentations to conclude at 1:30 p.m. For more information go to: www.IowaFraudFighters.gov.