Senior citizens must be protected from investment fraud. Sadly, many fraudsters intentionally target vulnerable senior citizens. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the organization that is responsible for overseeing the securities industry, has long recognized that this is a serious problem.
Protecting senior investors has become one of FINRA’s top priorities. Back in 2006, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) presented a report before the United States Senate that detailed some of the risks senior investors face and offered some potential policies that could help to provide much needed protections for these investors.
From this study, and other reports, FINRA has sought to make changes to better protect the rights of senior citizen investors. One of these changes was the introduction of an investment assistance hotline for senior investors. In April of 2015, FINRA launched a new Toll-Free Securities Helpline for Seniors.
The primary goal of this helpline is to provide senior citizen investors with assistance from knowledgeable FINRA support staff who can help address any concerns or questions they have about their investment accounts.
How to Call the Securities Helpline for Seniors
You can reach the helpline toll-free by calling 1-844-57-HELPS (1-844-574-3577). The business hours are 9 PM to 5 PM Eastern Standard Time, and the line is available from Monday through Friday. When you make a call, the FINRA representative you speak to may be able to answer your questions directly, or they may refer you to another associate who can provide a better response.
In some cases, the representative may recommend that you speak to a securities fraud attorney immediately.
When Should You Call the Senior Helpline?
There are three primary reasons why investors should call the FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors:
- For help accessing investor tools: The FINRA helpline representatives can assist senior citizens when it comes to using the agency’s investor tools. One such tool is BrokerCheck. FINRA provides BrokerCheck for free to all investors to let them conduct background research on individual brokers and brokerage firms. If you are a senior citizen, and you are having difficulty accessing BrokerCheck, or understanding the information provided by the tool, please do not hesitate to call the helpline.
- For help understanding your investments: Additionally, senior citizens can also use the FINRA helpline for help understanding information related to their individual portfolio or brokerage account. For example, if you are a senior citizen who has received an account statement from your brokerage firm, and you simply do not understand it, you can call the helpline for guidance from a associate who can go over this statement with you.
- To raise concerns that something is wrong: Finally, the helpline can be used to raise concerns you have over your investments. If you are worried that you might be being taken advantage of by a financial adviser or an investment company, you can start to take action by reporting your concerns through the FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors. The representative you speak to may refer your case to authorities for additional action.
What to Expect from the Helpline
Ultimately, what you can expect from the helpline will depend largely on the reasons that you made your call in the first place. However, FINRA has released a report that details the first six months that the Securities Helpline for Seniors was active. This report provides some useful guidance regarding what you can expect from a call. During the first six months the line was active, more than 2,500 calls were received.
The average wait time on these calls was less than two minutes and the average call lasted for approximately 25 minutes. Additionally, FINRA reports that more than 2,000 follow-up calls were made to investors, brokers, brokerage firms and third parties in relation to inquiries that were made by senior citizens.
While the helpline is a resource that provides guidance and assistance for seniors, you do not have to be a senior citizen to make a call. Indeed, you can call the helpline on behalf your older relative or loved one.
The Helpline is a Resource, But It Will Not Provide Legal Representation
Only an attorney can provide you with the legal help you need. If you are a senior investor, and you believe that you have been the victim of investment fraud, please get in touch with our team today. At the Sonn Law Group, our securities fraud lawyers have helped many victims recover the full and fair financial compensation that they rightfully deserve.
From our main office in Miami, we represent senior investors in South Florida, across the United States and around the world.