Financial Insititutions Working to Prevent Elder Financial Exploitation

Older Americans, primarily those born before 1964, hold 70% of deposit balances in the US. This fact has enticed scam artists seeking to exploit individuals to target seniors, their identities and their financial assets.

Seniors lose billions of dollars to exploitation each year. Losses from such abuse are significant and take an emotional toll on top of the financial impact. Victims often become depressed, and experience intense feelings of shame as well as fear. Many lose their savings while others may also lose their homes, harming one of America’s most at-risk populations.

Recognizing the challenges facing America’s elderly population, banks are actively working to protect seniors and combat elder financial exploitation. Banks view safeguarding older customers as not only an ethical imperative, but integral to good business.

A recent American Bankers Association benchmarking survey captured data on how banks educate older Americans, respond to fraudulent activity and train their staff to protect older customers.

Key findings included:

  • Elder financial exploitation prevention training is now largely standard, being offered for frontline staff and customer service representatives at all banks surveyed and required for customer-facing staff at 9 in 10 banks of all sizes, up from 7 in 10 in 2017.

  • Banks are increasingly reporting elder financial exploitation to Adult Protective Services (APS). Eighty-one percent of banks surveyed listed reporting to APS as one of their key actions in dealing with suspected elder fraud, up from 62% in 2017.

  • With the constant barrage of fraudulent activities and a growing number of at-risk customers, banks are finding that protecting their older customers requires dedicated staff beyond frontline customer service. Sixty-two percent of banks surveyed now have a designated employee in charge of elder financial abuse and fraud prevention.

  • Banks are increasingly embracing their roles as leaders in customer education and outreach to help protect seniors from fraud. Fifty-six percent of all survey respondents host community outreach and education events for older customers, up from 47% in 2017.

You can download and read the entire report here.

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