August 31, 2015 – Among the many concerns of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is the subject of elder financial abuse prevention. Back in July, Cordray indicated that the CFPB “will release an advisory later this year to help financial institutions prevent, recognize, and report financial abuse.” The CFPB recently launched state-specific guides for elder financial caregivers, which are needed due to differences in state laws and services, according to CFPB Director Richard Cordray. The CFPB has a page, with a variety of resources, referring to the financial protection of older Americans.
Even with this extra attention on an issue that is much bigger than most think, vulnerable seniors are consistently scammed out of hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.
The 2010 Investor Protection Trust Elder Fraud Survey said one in five Americans over 65 has been victimized by a financial fraud and a 2011 MetLife Mature Market Institute study stated that financial exploitation costs seniors at least $2.9 billion annually. More recently, the San Francisco-based financial services firm, True Link Financial, released a report estimating that $36.5 billion is lost nationwide to elder financial abuse, with nearly 37% of seniors across the United States being affected by financial abuse in any five-year period. Without tens of thousands of baby boomers turning 65 every day in the United States, the problem is projected to get worse.
One of the ways that the CFPB and other financial authorities recommend assuaging the issue is for financial institutions and caregivers of those susceptible to abuse to watch for signs, including but not limited to:
- Reviewing bills, bank statements, and Medicare/insurance Explanation of Benefit's (EOBs) on a regular basis
- Title changes in real property or wills when a person is incapable of understanding nature of transaction
- Suspicious withdrawals of cash or other unusual activity in bank accounts
- Sudden "friends" with undue influence or control over a senior's decision-making
Edcomm Group Banker’s Academy seeks to help financial institutions and other organizations combat elder financial abuse. Raising awareness is important, and Banker’s Academy is prepared to assist with efficient eLearning delivery systems and informational course offerings, such as Elder Financial Abuse and Recognizing Elder Financial Abuse.
Thomas, Jeremy. “Senior scams: Financial elder abuse rampant and grossly underreported, prosecutors say.” Contra Costa Times News. Bay Area News Group, 12 August 2015. Web. 18 August 2015.