June 15, 2023

ABA: Foundation Joins FBI to Issue Guide for Banks to Prevent Elder Financial Exploitation

Guide offers tips and other information to help front-line bank staff detect and prevent elder financial exploitation

In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the American Bankers Association Foundation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation today released a new guide with critically important tips and information to help bank employees detect and prevent elder financial exploitation. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, victims reported more than $3.1 billion in losses from elder financial abuse in 2022, which represents an 84% increase from 2021.

“Safeguarding the financial assets of older Americans is a top priority for banks of all sizes across the country,” said Sam Kunjukunju, vice president, consumer education for the ABA Foundation. “We’re thrilled to partner with the FBI to help further equip bankers everywhere with additional tools to combat these egregious crimes.”

“America’s senior citizens are losing billions of dollars every year to elder financial exploitation,” said Rebecca Keithley, national program coordinator for the FBI’s Elder Justice Initiative. “The FBI is proud of its partnership with the ABA Foundation to educate the public and provide resources to financial institutions, so together we can lessen the financial losses and help prevent our senior citizen population from becoming victims.”

The first part of the new guide provides an overview of elder financial exploitation and the detrimental impact it has on seniors and the economy. Elder financial exploitation can be divided into two main categories – elder theft and elder scams:

Criminals often target older Americans as they typically have more wealth relative to younger demographics due to a lifetime of working, investing and saving. Elder financial exploitation may cause victims to lose their life’s savings or homes, as well as suffer from intense fear, shame, anxiety, depression and potentially lose their independence.

The second part of the guide identifies potential financial exploitation red flags. Front-line bank staff can recognize the signs, including any changes in behavior or account activity that may seem suspicious by:

The third and final piece of the guide reminds bankers of the three overarching steps to follow in handling suspected elder financial exploitation—recognize, respond, report:

If you or anyone you know is a victim of elder financial exploitation, inform your bank, contact law enforcement and file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

More information can be found on ABA Foundation’s Older Americans Resource Page at www.aba.com/OlderAmericans.

For more information and to view the guide, click here.

This post was originally published here.