What Happened to Grandma’s Money?

When you hear the term “elder abuse,” the image of an elderly person being neglected or physically mistreated may be what comes to mind. Unfortunately, there is more to it than that. Elder abuse can also entail financial exploitation by scammers or family members to obtain money.

The real question financial institutions need to ask themselves is: what do we do if we suspect elder abuse? Many financial institutions have been very responsive in filing Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) with FinCEN. However, the losses detailed in these reports may not be substantial enough to catch the eye of law enforcement, or law enforcement does not have access to the reports. According to a report published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CPFB), the average loss per filer was $16,700, with one third of the individuals who lost money being 80 years of age or older. The report also stated that adults age 70 to 79 had the highest average monetary loss at $45,300.00. Another disappointing statistic in the report indicates that 7% of elder financial exploitation (EFE) SARs had losses exceeding $100,000.

What Else Can You Do?
Reporting suspicious activity to local, state and federal authorities can help trigger an intervention that may save a potential victim thousands of dollars. The CFPB shared some valuable information in their February 27th blog to help those who suspect elder financial exploitation.

Speak Up About Elder Financial Exploitation

  • If you believe that you or someone you know is a victim of financial exploitation, contact your local adult protective services (APS) agency. You can find out how to reach your APS office from the Eldercare Locator at eldercare.acl.gov or by calling 1-800-677-1116.
  • Report scams or fraud to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint.
  • Share a Money Smart for Older Adults guide with those in your community. Money Smart for Older Adults is an elder financial exploitation awareness and prevention program the Bureau created with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Don’t feel guilty for reporting grandma to the authorities, you may be saving her thousands of dollars!

Don’t Let Grandma Get Ran Over by a Fraudster!

Stay on top of the latest fraud trends by attending our Quarterly Compliance and Fraud Review webinar series. Together, we will examine the latest threats and challenges so that your organization can plan a proactive response. Current fraud schemes, compliance considerations and mitigation techniques will be discussed. The next webinar is on June 14th. Register today!