If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get your finances in order, BBB has some tools that will help you. Last month, the BBB announced a partnership with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation. Together, they launched a new consumer website, BBB Smart Investing, which is designed to help investors make smarter investing decisions while avoiding fraud, risky investments and unlicensed brokers.
“Our partnership with BBB will help Americans in communities across the country protect their savings from fraudsters,” said FINRA Foundation President Gerri Walsh. “The FINRA Foundation’s “Outsmarting Investment Fraud” curriculum and resources have been field-tested and give consumers the tools and information they need to thwart fraudsters touting investment scams.”
Consumer financial fraud is a serious problem in North America. Consumers reported losing more than $1.5 billion to all types of scams in 2011 according to the FTC and Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. In a telephone survey of older investors conducted by www.saveandinvest.org, 80% of respondents described themselves as “somewhat” or “very” knowledgeable about investing, yet only 44% got a passing grade on a basic financial literacy knowledge test. BBB Smart Investing hopes to help change that.
Some of the tools on the website are a FINRA Broker Check, a Fund Analyzer, a Risk Meter, a Scam Meter, and links to publications and other tools. In addition, consumers can order a free DVD entitled Trick$ of the Trade: Outsmarting Investment Fraud DVD.
“This is a great partnership,” commented Carrie Hurt, President and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “We think this program will go a long way toward preventing scams that have become so much more prevalent in recent years as people more actively manage their own retirement funds.
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