Protecting Your Retirement Money

Directors Take

Lori Schock, Director of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy

World Investor Week, which kicks off October 2, is a great opportunity for investors to learn how to avoid scams.  It’s particularly important for those planning their retirement to learn how to protect their hard-earned retirement money against fraud.

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy provides online resources to educate investors on how to set retirement goals, create a saving and investing plan, invest wisely, and avoid fraud.  

Our “Never Stop Learning” public service campaign features informational videos about protecting your retirement money, spotting the red flags of fraud, designating trusted contacts, and providing information for caregivers.  The campaign also provides resource pages in English and Spanish that highlight even more information to help you protect your nest egg.

Unfortunately, retirees are often the target of fraud.  You can avoid being a victim by learning how fraudsters operate scams.  Watch our videos, which feature a fictional online investment program called “HoweyTrade,” to learn how to recognize and avoid fraud.

Below are 4 quick tips and links to other materials to help you better protect yourself against fraud:

  1. Conduct a Background Check.  Use the SEC’s free Check Out Your Investment Professional search tool at to learn about an investment professional’s background, registration, and more.  Working with a registered investment professional is a great first step toward protecting your money.
  2. Ask Questions and Verify the Answers.  Before making any investment decisions, do your own research and only invest in opportunities that you fully understand.  The SEC’s EDGAR database provides free access to a public company’s financial information and operations to allow you to review the filings the company makes with the SEC.  The EDGAR database also provides information about mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
  3. Know the Red Flags of Fraud.  Fraudsters know many retirees worry about having enough money in retirement, and may prey on that fear.  If an investment opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Be skeptical of so-called “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunities, promises of great wealth, high guaranteed returns, and pressure to act right away.  Never make decisions based on a fear of missing out.
  4. Don’t Answer! Hang Up! Delete!  Another red flag of fraud is getting an unsolicited phone call, text, or email from someone asking you for money.  This is a tactic for the government imposter scams where fraudsters pretend to work for Social Security or other agencies.  Often, this scam involves threats and pressure to take immediate action.  Don’t answer phone calls or open any texts or email messages from any number or person you don’t recognize.  If you do, hang up or delete the message right away.  You can learn more about government imposter scams on Social Security’s website.

Learning how to invest safely and protect yourself against fraud can help you keep the money you worked so hard for – and live the life you want in retirement.  To receive articles from the Securities and Exchange Commission, you can either subscribe or find our latest article on the Director’s Take spotlight page.

Please share this important information with those who may need it.

This article is provided in the author’s official capacity as the Commission’s Director of the Office of Investor Education and Advocacy but does not necessarily reflect the views of the Commission, the Commissioners, or other members of the staff.

The posting of this blog (Protecting Your Retirement Money | SSA) does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any non-Social Security organization, author, or webpages.