VA News Special Edition


Jose: Hello everyone. I’m Marine Corps Veteran, Jose Llamas, with a special edition of VA News. Investment fraud comes in many shapes and sizes and unfortunately, these fraudsters sometimes target Veterans. Joining us today to provide insight on ways to help make sound investment decisions and avoid fraud is the Director of Securities and Exchange Commissions, Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, Lori Shock. Miss Shock, thanks for being with us today. Lori: Well, thank you Jose, thanks for having me. Jose: Absolutely. What a great day to talk about something that really targets our Veterans, especially those who are transitioning from active duty to Veteran status. What are some important first steps for Veterans that they should take to build wealth over time? Lori: You know, the very first step is just getting started. All right. And sometimes that may be paying yourself off first. And what I mean by that is if you have high interest rate, credit card debt, or other types of debt, you may be best off making an investment and paying yourself off, because that way you know exactly what your rate of return is going to be and you’ll get yourself out of the hole before you start saving and investing for the long term. Jose: How can Veterans minimize risk of investing? Lori: You know, when it comes to investing, diversification is the best way to sort of mitigate risk. And by diversification, I mean having not all of your eggs in one basket, if you will. So, you can do this by investing in mutual funds or exchange traded funds that are automatically diversified just by the nature of the product. So by having this broad diversification, it’s gonna help just to really minimize your risk. Jose: How would you suggest to Veterans to really be aware of scams that are taking place? What are those red flags that they should be aware of? Lori: Sure. You know, unfortunately with any demographic where there’s a group of like-minded people, sometimes they are targeted and Veterans are in that same group, so we call that affinity fraud. Now it could be a social group, a religious organization, a civic organization, but unfortunately, we see investment fraud sometimes targeted at the military. And I have to say, it’s a – if you were to be pulled over by a police officer for going too fast, the first questions you’re gonna be asked are license and registration. Well the same thing’s true with investment fraud. The best way to inoculate yourself against investment fraud is to make sure the person that you’re turning your money over to, is licensed. And do they just take your word for it? No, the police officer wants to see the license and then they go back to their squad car, they put the information in there. You can do the same thing by going to Investor.gov and putting in the person’s name. If they’re not in there as a licensed sales person, that’s a red flag on the plate. Do not turn your money over to them. And then also the products should be registered. And again, you can go to Investor.gov and use our database called EDGAR, put in the product. Now there may be a reason why it’s not – it doesn’t need to be registered with us, but most investment products, especially when we’re starting out these foundation building pieces, will need to be registered with us. That if you think you see something that may be investment fraud in your community, please report it to us. You can do that at SEC.gov/TCR Again, it’s SEC.gov/TCR We take all the extra eyes and ears in the community that we can have when it comes to reporting investment fraud I’d rather hear from 100 people and then turn out to be nothing, versus, “hey I heard about something, but I didn’t report it” and then it harms someone else down the road. Jose: That’s great information, but I know that you have additional information on your Director’s Take. Can you tell our Veterans what that is? Lori: Sure. Director’s Take is an opportunity for me, as the Director of the Office to sort of highlight issues that we’re seeing and where we want to spend some additional time in trying to educate people. Again, before they turn over their hard earned money and maybe it’s certain type of fraud that we’re seeing or maybe there’s an area where there’s investor confusion and we just want to have a little bit more explanation out there. I know I targeted one towards Veterans, which is a key demographic for us at the SEC, because Veterans have done so much to help protect us, we want to do something to help protect them. And when it comes to their financial security, the SEC stands behind them all the way. Jose: Absolutely. Thank you for that insight. I really appreciate that. That’s it for the special edition of VA News. I’m Jose Llmas. Thank you for your service. (upbeat techno music playing)

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