CFPB Report Finds Hundreds of Counties Nationwide Fighting Elder Financial Abuse with Community Efforts
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CFPB Report Finds Hundreds of Counties Nationwide Fighting Elder Financial Abuse with Community Efforts

Communities are better protected when they come together

August 25, 2016

A strong collaboration among community stakeholders – like financial institutions, adult protective services, and law enforcement – can be effective in protecting their older residents from financial exploitation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finds.

Hundreds of counties have developed a community-based approach to protect their seniors and retirees from financial exploitation," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a written statement. "We've learned that an 'all hands on deck' strategy can be very effective to fight elder financial fraud. Our new guide and recommendations can help more community stakeholders build these very helpful networks to pool information, expertise, and resources in addressing this growing crisis.

Elder financial exploitation destroys the financial security of millions of older Americans each year. Losses from elderly exploitation ranges from $2.9 billion to as high as $36.5 billion.

The CFPB has some suggested practices to help communities across the country to protect their elderly friends and neighbors from being exploited financially:

Create protection partnerships that involve law enforcement and financial institutions: Lawyers, bankers, members of the law enforcement should all come together with people who volunteer or serve the elderly in their communities and form a partnership. Financial institutions are uniquely situated to detect and act when an elder account holder has been targeted or victimized, and are mandated to report suspected elder financial exploitation under many states' laws. Law enforcement agencies, such as state and local police and county sheriffs' offices, are responsible for investigating cases and apprehending perpetrators.

Serve ethnically, racially, and linguistically diverse and rural communities: These community partnerships should be as diverse as the community itself. Try to get community and faith based organizations involved. These organizations can support the partnerships' educational activities and can provide expert services such as translation services and trainings on cultural competence. For rural areas, try to set-up a foundation for their own community collaboration to build on, that way they can manage themselves and it cuts down on use of limited resources and minimizes travel.