It’s a trick swindlers still employ. But in today’s world, they have more — and more powerful — ways to reach ordinary people (robocalls, email, TV, social media) and convince them to hand over their money. A 2019 study by fraud experts at the University of Minnesota and AARP found that, compared to investors in general, victims of investment scams tend to be older; male; more frequent stock traders; and more likely to respond to investment pitches in unsolicited phone calls and emails, TV ads or free financial “seminars.” 

Investment fraudsters often target older people, whom they view as more trusting than younger generations, less likely to say “no,” and more apt to have tappable assets after a lifetime of working, according to law enforcement, regulators and advocacy groups. In January 2020, for…

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