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Screenshot of a breaking news alert e-mail from Q2 2017
America. Home of the brave, land of the free, but with fortress-like consumer protection laws.
Indeed, in the United States, the buying public are less likely to come up against an unsavory character such as the one pictured here, however, the authorities are taking no chances and have developed an ingenious method of ensuring that potential investors are on their guard.
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation) in collaboration with Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund today launched an exciting new educational tool in the form of an interactive game that helps investors spot the psychological persuasion tactics used by con artists.
The game, which is available for play on desktop or by downloading the phone or tablet mobile application, is designed to help investors outsmart investment fraud criminals.
According to the Financial Fraud Research Center, Americans lose up to $50 billion per year to fraud, and research funded by the FINRA Foundation indicates that more than eight in 10 respondents over the age of 40 have been solicited to participate in potentially fraudulent schemes.
Fraud criminals are masters of persuasion, taking advantage of their victims using seemingly benign tactics, such as asking victims about their health, family, political views, hobbies or prior employers—all while thinking of ways to separate victims from their money. Research shows that learning to spot persuasion tactics in pitches can reduce their effect, and increase an individual’s ability to spot and avoid fraud.
FINRA Foundation President Gerri Walsh says that the “goal is to give investors an interactive tool they can use to help them recognize the red flags of fraud. Con ‘Em If You Can challenges users to really understand the psychology behind scams.”
“Video games are an effective strategy for building financial capability, and Con ‘Em If You Can is an innovative game that will expand the reach of fraud prevention messages. D2D is excited to have developed this new Financial Entertainment title with the FINRA Foundation,” said Tim Flacke, Executive Director, D2D Fund.
Con ‘Em If You Can brings players into the fictional world of Shady Acres. Playing alongside Connor, a con artist and mentor, players learn first-hand about the types of persuasion tactics used to perpetuate financial fraud, and they accumulate wealth and strength by using these tactics as fraud tools on a range of targets. But they have to watch out-the Fraud Fighting Agency’s lead agent, Fiona, is hot on their trail.
Can they take down Shady Acres’ biggest target before she finds them?
For the official announcement from FINRA, click here.