America's elderly are encouraged to build a safety net, of sorts, against financial abuse. This is essential on an individual basis, even though – to attempt to protect seniors and prevent financial elder abuse – regulators are stepping up their efforts.
Is elder financial abuse really that big of a problem? Yes. Up to $30 billion a year is lost by Americans due to elder financial abuse. This can happen in any number of ways including misappropriation of an elderly person's money by the following individuals:
- Family members
- Trusted friends
- Total strangers who are thieves or con artists
But, because the victims of this type of crime are either unable to report the abuse or are too embarrassed to do so, it frequently goes unreported. None too soon, however, that could change!
Changes Taking Place
A self-regulatory, brokerage overseeing agency – FINRA – has issued a new rule. Brokers must, regardless of age, ask customers for the name of a friend, family member, or other trusted contact.
- If a client already exists, when they ask for updated information or the firm reaches out as a matter of routine, the request can be made.
- If the client is new, when opening the account, the request for a trusted contact must be made.
This new rule is going to be of assistance in the prevention of financial elder abuse because, if the broker believes that financial exploitation is occurring, they are to reach out to that trusted individual. This could apply if large sums of money were suddenly being withdrawn by the elderly person (or someone else). Another instance would be that if the person in question has a cognitive impairment, assistance from a trusted representative may be needed.
Here are four more ways to help prevent elderly financial abuse.
Mail Solicitations – Get Rid of Them!
You can limit the amount of credit card offers, catalogs, and other direct mailings through the Direct Marketing Association. That's going to mean less temptation as well as reduce the opportunity for fraud or mistake applications/purchases.
Calls from salespeople can be reduced, though it may not completely prevent everyone from defrauding a senior. To block some Robo calls, individuals can sign up at Nomorobo. Additionally, call 888-382-1222 or register online at https://www.donotcall.gov to get yourself or someone else on the Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Call Registry.
Sadly, there are numerous fraudulent phone call scams plaguing not only the elderly but everyone in general. It's hard to stop these individuals because, as soon as one phone number from which they are calling is reported, they switch to another phone number.
Discuss Scams and Finances
As succinctly as possible, the elderly should be made aware of scams, fraudulent schemes, and other threats to their financial stability and security. This may or may not be received well, but an attempt should at least be made. If someone has several credit cards and accounts, to make things easier to monitor, this should be narrowed down to as few cards and accounts as possible. Finances should be simplified wherever and whenever they can be.
Direct Deposit – Use It!
To avoid Social Security and other types of checks through the USPS getting intercepted, lost, etc., direct deposit should be used. Nefarious caregivers, strangers rooting through the mail, or unforeseen postal related circumstances will not be responsible for making those much-needed checks go missing, this way.
Weltz Law And Elderly Financial Abuse
If you, someone you know, or someone you love has been a victim of financial elder abuse, contact representation at Weltz Law. We can help you analyze the situation and be of assistance regarding the appropriate follow-up. Our dedication and commitment have helped numerous individuals with their legal concerns.
Granted, our focus is mainly on FINRA arbitration against brokers and dealers. But if you'd like to confer with one of our representatives regarding elderly financial abuse or some other legal topic, please feel free to contact us.