Elder Financial Abuse Continues to Escalate
Elder financial abuse is very much on the rise. According to the National Council on Aging, between one and two million Americans age 65 and above have been injured, exploited or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depend for care or protection – including both family members and friends.
All employees of banks and other financial institutions must do what they can to provide special considerations and protections for seniors. Because of their responsibilities, these employees are legally defined as mandated reporters. A mandated reporter who has seen or reasonably suspects that elder financial abuse has occurred must contact the nearest adult protective services or law enforcement agency.
The Elder Financial Protection Network or EFPN – a coalition of financial institutions, public and private agencies committed to fighting elder financial abuse – warns that financial exploitation of seniors can take many forms.
Some seniors are befriended by con-artists. Some are deceived by bogus sweepstakes, lotteries and telemarketing scams. Some are pressured into making monetary gifts. Many seniors risk losing their homes through unfair or misleading home equity agreements or become victims of unscrupulous home repair contractors, trust mills, or peddlers of inappropriate financial products and services.
The EFPN has identified several steps that might assist seniors in protecting themselves from becoming victims of financial exploitation and abuse:
And, when choosing a financial advisor or attorney, be sure to use H.E.L.P.’s Ask First! Questionnaire. By asking potential advisors to complete the form, you are obtaining information on their professional experience and training.
If the potential advisor refuses to complete the form – find someone else! If the advisor does complete it, use the information to check with appropriate licensing agencies to confirm the status of the advisor’s license and any past complaints or sanctions. If the advisor’s answers don’t “check out” – find another advisor.
Click here to obtain your free copy of H.E.L.P.'s Ask First Questionnaire!, or call 310-533-1996.