The Securities and Exchange Commission and the North American Securities Administrators Association announced Monday they are working together to protect elderly investors from investment fraud and the sale of unsuitable securities.

The regulators decided to combine forces after the SEC, Florida securities regulators and the NASD successfully cracked down on investment fraud in that state.

As part of the new program, the regulators will step up enforcement actions, increase the number of targeted exams and do a better job of educating seniors. The SEC plans to work more closely with state and local law enforcement, as well as Federal and state regulatory agencies, in order to identify and shut down scams targeting senior investors.

The SEC has already put together at its website a "senior care package" of useful brochures about investing, specifically for seniors. The SEC warns seniors, for instance, against cold calls from dishonest brokers who may offer spectacular returns or have a retort for every objection.

The NSAA has had a "senior investor resource center" at its website since 2003. It offers a number of tips, such as six key questions to ask a broker before making an investment, including asking them to spell out the investment risk, reveal which regulators oversee the product, and the numbers of all of their insurance and/or securities licenses.

"Another American Baby Boomer will turn 60 every eight seconds for the next 20 years," said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. "As the nation's assets increasingly are held by older Americans, fraudsters can be expected to follow Willie Sutton's example and go where the money is. That's why the SEC's partnership with state regulators to safeguard the assets of older Americans is so important."

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