When it comes to military service and the prevention of investment fraud, Robert Abreo has seen both sides of the equation. He is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, and a member of the Inspections & Compliance Division in the Houston office of the Texas State Securities Board.
During Military Saves Week, Feb. 19-26, Abreo encourages military members and their families to maintain readiness not only for their military duties, but for their financial future as well.
"As a veteran and a regulator, I've seen firsthand the myriad resources available to help service members and veterans overcome financial challenges," Abreo said. "But while the military provides training for our specific duties, educating ourselves about our finances and remaining vigilant about scams takes initiative. I implore military members and their families to seek education and assistance from regulatory agencies such as the State Securities Board." A
breo served in the U.S. Army infantry, on active duty from 2005-2007 and then reactivated in 2009-2010. He was deployed to Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
Texas Securities Commissioner John Morgan said, "With so many of the nation's largest military installations in Texas, the State Securities Board has a special responsibility to help the men and women who serve our country protect their hard-earned dollars."
"Unfortunately, military families are sometimes targeted by con artists who claim to have ties to the military as a way to gain the trust of their victims," he said.
Before investing any money, Morgan said, investors should contact the State Securities Board to determine if the person offering the investment, and the investment itself, are registered.
Investors can call the agency at 1-888-663-0009 to request a free regulatory background check on brokers, investment advisers, and other financial professionals. Regulatory reports can also be requested through the agency's websites, www.ssb.state.tx.us and www.texasinvestored.org.
The State Securities Board also provides resources designed to help military families learn how to avoid investment fraud, including:
Salute to Smart Investing. This guide to saving, investing, retirement planning and fraud prevention, prepared especially for the Armed Forces, is available on the State Securities Board's Investor Education website at http://www.texasinvestored.org/Texas_Booklet/index.html.
Conversation Starters for Military Families. Click through this series of open-ended questions to help your family start an ongoing dialogue about budgeting, saving, investing and avoiding scams and frauds. Available at http://www.nasaa.org/2396/resources-for-military-servicemembers/.
As a member of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), the State Securities Board is a proud supporter of Military Saves Week and America Saves Week, a national public awareness effort to motivate people to start saving for their financial future. To learn more about America Saves Week, a program led by the Consumer Federation of America, visit www.americasaves.org.