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17 Percent of Seniors 65+ Victims of Financial Exploitation: Advisory Aims to Help

March 24th, 2016 · No Comments · Consumer Info

by Kristy Welsh

(Last Updated On: January 17, 2018)

17 Percent of Seniors 65+ Victims of Financial Exploitation: New Advisory Aims to Help

Financial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse. As though that’s not bad enough, these incidents are grossly underreported to protective services agencies. An advisory to financial institutions aims to address both issues – preventing financial exploitation and reporting it appropriately when it happens.

According to a recent study, 17 percent of seniors age 65 and over have been victims of financial exploitation. That’s roughly 1 in 6. Yet, only 1 in 44 cases of elder financial abuse are ever reported to protective services agencies.

Advisory to Banks and Credit Unions

To help protect America’s seniors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued an advisory to banks and credit unions on how they can help.

Recommendations include:

  • Offering seniors opt-in limits on cash withdrawals, including amounts and locations
  • Providing view-only account access to a trusted family member or friend who can help monitor account activity without actually having access to funds
  • Training staff on the warning signs of financial exploitation, like changes in how and where their senior customers make transactions
  • Reporting suspected financial exploitation even if it is not mandated by the state
  • Working with local agencies to increase educational outreach about financial exploitation of seniors in your community

You can read the advisory in its entirety here.

What You Can Do

Educating yourself should be your number one priority, not only about helpful services offered by your bank or credit union, but also other issues relative to consumer protection issues.

Do you know your debt collection rights?

Do you know what to look for in a financial advisor?

Do you know what to do if you have been a victim of elder financial abuse? Go to eldercare.gov to find a protective agency near you.

The CFPB also has a guide specific to elder financial abuse in assisted living and nursing facilities.

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