February 21, 2024



As Financial Advisors, Wealth Management Firms and Law Enforcement Agencies Efforts to prevent economic exploitation of older peopleA new study by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) shows the magnitude of the problem.

Victims 60 or older lose $28.3 billion annually to senior financial exploitation schemes, with 72% of those losses being caused by someone who knew them. The same percentage are not reported to authorities or industry, according to researchby Jilenne Gunther, National Director AARP’s Bank Security Initiative, and was released earlier this month in partnership with NORC at the University of Chicago. Previous studies cited in the AARP report estimated annual losses of $2.9 billion, $36.5 billion and $273.5 billion, respectively.

“With dollar costs identified and a recognition that needs to go well beyond dollar figures, understanding of the issue continues to grow — because the real costs go well beyond the actual costs.

“The amount calculated here is $28.3 billion,” Gunther wrote in the report. “This has knock-on effects within society, for example in the form of taxes spent on those whose resources are depleted by (financial exploitation of the elderly) Billions of dollars are lost on projects that people need, not to mention the financial industry, and ultimately consumers pay the price. There are real human impacts that other research has begun to identify, such as the impact on the mental and physical health of older adults .”

advisors and wealth managers, as well as securities regulators and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, Play a key role in detecting fraud For the elderly.often Regulatory and Criminal Casesinclude Some charged with hate crimesrecommends success in combating economic exploitation of older people limited at best.

this The median age of Americans is rising The company’s founder, Paul Greenwood, said the issue of “upgrading” became more urgent as baby boomers age. greenwood law A former prosecutor leads a unit in the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office focused on crimes against older victims.

“Lawmakers and politicians need to see this as a national crisis. They need to find enough funding for adult protective services,” Greenwood said in an email. “It’s appalling that APS in every state is struggling. Keep up with the ever-increasing caseload.” “We’ve had some notable successes in recent years thanks to good collaboration between local, state and federal agencies. We need more of that. Even if the money ends up going overseas,” followed Funding’ is also possible. It just requires people to have passion, perseverance and purpose.”

The AARP study used “a first-of-its-kind approach to gathering data on consumer-reported losses from several of the nation’s most respected sources and eliminating duplicate reporting while integrating estimated unreported losses.” American. The report drew data from three federal sources previously identified by the GAO, an independent watchdog: the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and suspicious activity submitted by financial firms to the Treasury Department Report.

AARP defines economic exploitation of older persons as “the illegal or improper use of older persons’ funds, property or assets,” and found that damages by perpetrators known to victims resulted in tens of billions of dollars in unreported costs. At least 67 percent of victims told authorities or financial institutions about their losses at the hands of strangers. Only 12.5 percent of victims who lost money to acquaintances alerted government agencies or companies.

“Fraud perpetrated by strangers bears no resemblance to fraud perpetrated by someone known to the victim,” Gunther wrote in the report. “While strangers may rely on quick and irreversible transactions like gift cards or wire transfers, victims Perpetrators who are familiar to the victim are more likely to step in and gain access to funds directly, such as by taking joint ownership or power of attorney to identify their victims’ accounts.”

Gunther concluded that the AARP study “serves as a starting point” to “develop necessary interventions to protect older adults and society at large from this pervasive problem.”

For example, she noted in a statement that the organization’s BankSafe program has prevented more than $200 million from being stolen from senior Americans through training and education efforts in partnership with more than 1,000 participating financial firms.

FINRA recently posted a podcast Elder Abuse Awareness Month, a list of resources for industry professionals on rules and best practices.this Ministry of Justice, FBIthis Securities and Exchange Commissionthis North American Securities Administrators Association and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Everyone has more information on how to report and spot elder abuse.

“Every police and sheriff’s department” in the country is expected to complete a course called Law Enforcement’s Guide to Elder Abuse, or (EAGLE), developed from a federally funded module National Elder Abuse Center According to Greenwood, the research comes from the Keck School of Medicine of USC. He said adult protective agencies needed as many caseworkers as government departments tasked with preventing child abuse, that government agencies and industry should strengthen their networks and financial institutions must step up training.

“Could the number be higher? I believe it is,” Greenwood said. “The predators out there rely on the fact that either the victim is too embarrassed to come forward, or is cognitively impaired and unable to grasp the gravity of their situation. Can it only get worse? Yes.”