2/26/2016 – 4 Ways to Protect Your Aging Parents From Financial Abuse

Simply being a regular presence in your parents’ lives can go a long way toward safeguarding them from financial exploitation. It’s far easier to detect signs of financial abuse firsthand. So if you live close enough, visit often – it’ll give you a chance to gauge how they’re doing physically, emotionally and financially. Unpaid bills, excessive spending, or other changes in behavior can all be red flags. Ensuring that your parents’ financial wishes are documented before dementia or other cognitive issues arise is perhaps the most crucial step toward preventing financial abuse. That means having tough conversations early and often. While the rate of elder financial abuse by caregivers is a relatively small piece of the overall pie, these professionals are in a unique position to perpetrate the crime. Loewy noted that there are “bad apples everywhere,” and there’s no guarantee that the person hired to care for your parent will be one of the good ones. Still, there are a number of things you can do to help prevent abuse by hired caregivers. For in-home caregivers, it’s generally best to go through a licensed agency that conducts criminal background checks. Ask them about the screening process they use. While the Internet can be a channel to perpetrate scams (from phishing scams to emails from alleged foreign princes) it also offers tools to help guard against financial abuse.

Read the full article here.

2/12/2016 – Fraudsters’ Latest Target: The Already Defrauded

The latest scam targeting older consumers is particularly cruel, because it homes in on people who already have lost money in previous fraudulent schemes.

So-called asset-recovery firms target people who have lost money in another type of fraud — often, a bogus work-at-home scheme or a fake time share investment, according to an advisory issued this week by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The firm promises the victims that it can recover much of the lost money, for a hefty upfront fee. But after taking the payment, the firm does little — or takes steps that the consumers could do on their own at no cost.

Read the full NYT article here.

2/10/2015 – ABA Foundation Launches Safe Banking for Seniors

The ABA Foundation today formally launched its Safe Banking for Seniors program to help banks across the country educate seniors and their caregivers on the risks of financial fraud. Bankers can now take advantage of the program’s various resources, which include event materials, lesson plans, media outreach tools and best practices designed to help bankers bolster their outreach to seniors and financial caregivers in their communities throughout the year. All materials are provided free of charge. The program consists of four lesson modules on identifying and avoiding scams, identity theft prevention, choosing a financial caregiver and acting as a responsible financial caregiver. The modules can be taught as stand-alone sessions, or as part of a comprehensive suite of lessons.

The Safe Banking for Seniors campaign reflects ABA’s commitment to leading the charge against the financial exploitation of older Americans. The Foundation is joined by 30 state bankers associations that have pledged to promote these resources to bankers in their states in an effort to combat the estimated $2.9 billion in losses suffered by seniors each year as a result of fraud.

Go to the website here.

2/10/2016 – Older Consumers Targeted By Fraudsters Not Once, But Twice!

The Office for Older Americans released an advisory on a financial scam targeting older consumers. This asset recovery scam targets older consumers who have previously fallen prey to fraudulent money-making schemes, such as bogus timeshare investments and in-home business opportunities. The so-called asset recovery companies contact these past victims, promising to get refunds for the older consumer for an upfront fee of several hundred to thousands of dollars.  They then fail to deliver — leaving the older consumer financially worse off than before

Read the advisory here.

2/1/2016 – Bank Tellers, With Access to Accounts, Pose a Rising Security Risk

As concerns over identity theft and foreign cyber attacks rise, customers are largely in the dark about a growing threat just around the corner: bank tellers and managers with instant access not only to their critical personal information, but also to their cash. Though much of the focus on bank fraud has been on sophisticated hackers, it is the more prosaic figure of the teller behind the window who should worry depositors, according to prosecutors, government officials and security experts.

Read the full story on the NYT.

2/1/2016 – NASAA Adopts Model Rule to Fight Senior Financial Abuse

The North American Securities Administrators Association said Monday that its membership has voted to adopt a model act designed to protect vulnerable adults from financial exploitation, including allowing broker-dealers or advisors to impose an initial delay of disbursements from an account of an eligible adult for up to 15 business days if financial exploitation is suspected.

The model, entitled “An Act to Protect Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation,” provides new tools to help detect and prevent financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.

Read the full story here.