The Iowa Insurance division is warning Iowans, particularly the elderly, to be wary of financial schemes that appear too good to be true. Insurance Commissioner Susan Voss is urging Iowans to call her office to check whether a financial advisor has a license to do business here, and whether there have been complaints filed about him or her. Voss says senior citizens tend to be “vulnerable” to hucksters because many seniors have “liquid assets” and may not be as savvy about investing. “They can easily be hooked in,” she says. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” You can call the state Insurance division, toll-free, at 1-877-955-1212 or visit the division on-line at www.investsmartiowa.org. You can also find out if the company the “investment advisor” is touting is “legit” according to Voss. She says to check a person and their company out -before- investing. “The unfortunate thing is many times we hear from these people when the money’s been wired and they’re never going to get it back or they’re too embarrassed to call and their kid’s call,” Voss says. The state of Iowa is using money from a legal settlement with Wall Street financial firms guilty of bilking consumers to launch a wide-ranging effort to educate Iowans about investing, and the potential pitfalls. Iowa received three-hundred-thousand dollars from the settlement. “So it’s not taxpayers money, and the idea was to focus on becoming smarter investors,” Voss says. For example, Voss has hired a theater troupe to visit schools around the state to creatively teach students about the importance of money management and investing. That’s in addition to the enhanced website and a statewide p-r campaign. Experts estimate that last year, Americans lost 40 billion dollars because of investment fraud.
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