Project for How to Spot a “Free Lunch” Scam

on Howcast

Nearly 6 million Americans age 55+ attended free lunch seminars in 2009, and nearly 25% of the advisors holding seminars recommended unsuitable investments.

As a “free lunch” monitor, you’ll help keep your friends, family and neighbors safe from fraudulent investment practices and products. You can follow these steps to monitor and report on seminars to which you’ve been invited. For more information, visit

The Problem

Older investors are intensely targeted with investment offers, both legitimate and fraudulent. Research conducted on behalf of FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, found free seminars are the top way in which older investors receive unsolicited investment offers.

Investment professionals and companies often host free lunch or dinner seminars to educate potential investors about opportunities and products. Many times these seminars are hosted by legitimate companies with good intentions.

However, invitees need to be careful; sometimes investment fraudsters use them to scam older adults out of their hard-earned savings! Seminar hosts may claim “nothing will be sold” at these free lunches. But they could be trying to sell you and your friends fraudulent investments.

After attending a free lunch seminar, more than one third of attendees were contacted about buying an investment product — and many felt pressured to invest. Remember, just because someone buys you a meal doesn’t mean you have to buy what they’re saying or selling.

The Solution

Become an AARP Free Lunch Monitor! You can learn how to easily spot the persuasion tactics fraudsters use and how to report them to AARP and the authorities.

Three times as many (21%) known investment fraud victims have attended a free lunch investment seminar compared to investors nationally (7%).

Time Commitment

Only a few hours in order to attend a free lunch seminar as a monitor and report the information to AARP. If you only have a few minutes, simply send your free lunch seminar invitations to AARP.

Special Considerations

You or a friend or relative would need to be invited to a “free lunch or dinner investment seminar.” Or you might see an ad in your local newspaper. You may need to RSVP to attend.

Who can do this?

Anyone who wants to help protect themselves and others in their community from investment fraud!

Great Reasons to do this Project

You’ll be making the financial marketplace safer for you, your family, friends and neighbors!