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Stolen Futures: An AARP Washington Survey of Investors and Victims of Investment Fraud

What are the experiences, perceptions, and knowledge of Washington State investors in securities? Do victims of investment fraud differ significantly from non-victims? This February 2007 AARP telephone survey of 125 reported victims and 258 reported non-victims of investment fraud explores these questions.

Survey highlights include:

  • Investment fraud victim respondents are more likely to be male (victim: 64%; non-victim: 43%), married (victim 77%; non-victim: 67%), and employed (victim 53%; non-victim: 35%). Victims of investment fraud are, on average, 55 years old.
  • Both victims and non-victims view themselves as less than highly knowledgeable about investing: a third of the respondents from each sample say they are not that knowledgeable or not at all knowledgeable (victim: 30%, non-victim 33%), and another half from each sample say they are somewhat knowledgeable about investing (victim: 53%; non-victim: 56%).
  • Respondents from both samples combined did not know the correct answer to half of the six financial literacy questions tested in the survey. Victims of security fraud answered significantly more questions correctly than non-victims (victim: 56%; non-victim: 51%). These results obtained by a t-test.
  • Among those respondents who invest through a professional, only about one-third say they have ever checked the background of that broker, financial planner, or financial advisor to see if they are registered with a national or local securities regulator before hiring them (victim: 37%; non-victim: 32%).

This telephone survey of Washington State investors was conducted for AARP during February 2007 by Woelfel Research, Inc. For more information, contact the report's author, Jennifer Sauer, at 202-434-6207. (46 pages)

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