- By Kevin Yu
In the wake of the Bernard L. Madoff scandal, it's a question on everyone's mind, especially older folks with the most to lose: How can one check out the people helping to manage one's life savings?
A lot of smart money with access to expensive private investigators got taken in by the confessed, now-imprisoned Madoff. But he was the rare case of an out-and-out fraudster with no previous adverse public regulatory baggage. As it turns out, there are cheap and easy ways to vet financial professionals and the outfits they work for, for a history of blunders--or worse.
The absolute easiest way: Google (GOOG - news - people) the name of your broker and then the firm. Also check some of the specialized Google services, such as Google News and Google Blog Search, which can pick up more recent events.