6/22/2016 – High-tech ways banks are trying to save seniors from having their money stolen

Wells Fargo & Co. began using new software for detecting abuse in some seniors’ wealth-management accounts during the first quarter of 2016 and is gradually rolling the technology out to more accounts. The technology closely tracks the investing behavior of the individual who owns the account and starts to recognize his or her unique habits, said Jimmie Lenz, the chief technology risk officer for Wells Fargo’s wealth investment management division. Elder financial abuse often has its own set of signs, according to a report issued by the CFPB in March 2016. These include suddenly insufficient funds or overdraft fees, activity in previously inactive accounts, change of address on an account, opening a new joint checking account or adding a joint owner to an existing account, an increase in total monthly cash withdrawals compared with historical patterns and electronic bill payments to new vendors. The Wells Fargo software can pick up on fraudulent or unusual behavior, even for small deviations in investing behavior, Lenz said. That can be particularly useful for detecting elder abuse, since abusers often try to make small withdrawals from a senior’s account over time, Lenz said. A thief who steals a credit card, in contrast, is more likely to make large withdrawals or purchases to steal as much money as possible before the card is canceled.

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