BBB and FINRA Foundation launch new website to stop investment scams

Consumers lose millions to scammers and Ponzi schemes; new effort combines education, local outreach

Better Business Bureau and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation launched a new consumer website, BBB Smart Investing, which is designed to help consumers make smarter investing decisions.

The campaign combines the research and expansive knowledge base of the FINRA Foundation with the extensive consumer outreach of BBB’s trusted 100-year-old name and its 104 local operations across the United States.

“Our partnership with BBB will help Americans in communities across the country protect their savings from fraudsters,” said Gerri Walsh, FINRA Foundation president. “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.”

Research conducted by the FINRA Foundation found that consumers are overconfident in their knowledge of financial management, particularly baby boomers. A recent survey found that 92 percent of investors ages 55 to 65 felt “somewhat” or “very confident” about managing their finances. However, many of their reported investment behaviors put them at risk.

“This is a great partnership,” said Carrie Hurt, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “Even though BBB has always investigated investment scams, this gives us a whole new portfolio of prevention tools to offer to consumers. … We think this program will go a long way toward preventing investment scams that have become so much more prevalent in recent years.”

Many local BBBs throughout the United States have started rolling out programs and hosting events in their local areas. BBB presenters are using tools from the FINRA Foundation to introduce smart investing skills and to teach consumers how to detect investment schemes, scams and frauds. A list of upcoming events is available online.