In February 2019, McKnights’s Senior Living reported, citing a report just released from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that financial elder fraud reports had quadrupled since only 2013, reaching $1.7 billion in actual losses or attempted thefts, and those figures were for the year 2017.
The CFPB report is based on suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed with the federal government by banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, and other financial institutions. It is not only believed that the trend is continuing to rise, but that these reports still only represent a fraction of the elderly financial exploitation.
Although the average loss was just over $34,000, approximately 7% of the reported victims lost over $100,000 each. One-third of the victims involved people over age 80 years old. The largest losses reported involved suspects that were people that the victim already knew either personally or professionally.
The CFPB has published a number of materials to help protect elderly persons from financial abuse including numerous reports and materials, even a financial education placement to remind older adults about financial issues. The CFPB website is a resource for these materials. In addition, you can report elder financial abuse to local law enforcement authorities, as well as federal resources such as the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov/complaint) or to the Senate Special Committee on Aging at www.aging.senate.gov/fraud-hotline.
According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, only approximately 1 out of every 44 cases of financial abuse even gets reported. Policy makers and regulators are trying to ramp up the focus on financial elder abuse. New legislative efforts at the state and federal level, new proposals by state and federal securities regulators are aimed at helping to prevent financial exploitation of seniors. Insurance companies and broker-dealer firms all seem to acknowledge and agree with the goal of protecting seniors from abusive sales practices when it comes to financial services products. However, the same firms also lobby to prevent real change such as a fiduciary standard, and also voice concern that any material change from the status quo in terms of new regulations will add costs to their business.
The Investment Fraud Lawyers and Annuity Fraud Lawyers at Haselkorn & Thibaut, P.A. can handle these cases nationwide. Please call them today for a free consultation 1-800-856-3352 or visit us at www.investmentfraudlawyers.com. With over 40 years of combined experience, these former bank and broker-dealer attorneys are available now to for you, the investor.