While aging affects all of us, it can have very different impacts on one person than it does on another. Since we can't predict these differences, it's important to get educated about how to keep ourselves and those we're responsible for safe as we age. Keeping older adults safe from exploitation and scams is a top priority for Schwab as well as for the regulatory agencies that govern financial services. The odds are that even if this topic doesn't affect you directly, it will impact someone you know and will likely affect some of your clients. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, exploitation cost older adults approximately $3.4 billion in 2020 alone. Scammers target older adults because they tend to have more wealth than other age groups. Those over 50 hold 77% of all financial assets. This combined with some of the complications that come from the aging process can make them excellent targets for criminals. There are many scams that specifically target our older population. One of the most common is the investment scam. In this scenario, the scammers contact the target, and they might seek to forge an emotional connection. We refer to that as the romance scam, but regardless, the scammer will turn the conversation toward a unique investment opportunity they claim to be able to offer the investor. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will supposedly double or even triple the victim's money in a matter of days or weeks with little to no risk. The scammers pressures the victim to pay through wire transfer or cryptocurrency. They may use fake websites that make it appear that the victim has actually been invested and is earning the promised return. Tragically, these victims have emptied their retirement accounts to fund these schemes, leaving them with tax and reporting consequences on top of the loss of their nest egg. Clearly, these crimes have a horrible impact on the victims. To help protect your clients and others from these schemes, there are some simple rules to follow. Never send money at the request of someone that you've only met online. Don't give into pressure to invest immediately. Always discuss any investment opportunities with your investment advisor. After all, that's what they're there for. Ask questions. Do your research and check the credentials of anyone purporting to be an investment professional. Finally, never feel obligated to invest, even if the professional gave you a gift, bought you lunch, or reduced their fee. It's important that all older investors add a trusted contact on their account profile. This person can help assist advisors and Schwab in protecting their best interests if there's a reasonable belief that the client is the victim of a scam and is being financially exploited. If you suspect that your client is the victim, please contact Schwab immediately. Report the situation to law enforcement, adult protective services, and contact the three credit bureaus to request a fraud alert be placed on that person's account. To learn more information about elder exploitation, the ever-changing scams, and trusted contacts, please check out the senior and vulnerable investor resources available in the Cybersecurity Resource Center on Schwab Advisor Center, and please review our customizable brochure explaining common scams to your clients.