CFPB Releases Guidance on Elder Financial Exploitation
03/21/17 – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office for Older Americans has released guidance to assist banks and credit unions with their efforts to prevent and address elder financial abuse.
The CFPB report defines elder financial exploitation as the illegal or improper use of an older person’s funds, property or assets. Studies suggest that financial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse and yet only a small fraction of incidents are reported. Estimates of annual losses range from $2.9 billion to $36.48 billion.
The CFPB issued an advisory and a report including broad recommendations regarding elder financial exploitation. Key recommendations include:
- Train management and staff to prevent, detect, and respond.
- Use technology to monitor for signs of elder financial exploitation.
- Report all cases of suspected exploitation to relevant federal, state, and local authorities.
- File Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).
- Expedite documentation requests from Adult Protective Services (APS), law enforcement and other government entities investigating reports of financial exploitation.
- Comply with the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) and Regulation E by extending time limits for consumer notification of an unauthorized transaction under extenuating circumstances such as hospitalization.
- Enable older account holders to consent to information sharing with trusted third parties.
- Offer age-friendly services that can enhance protections against financial exploitation.
- Work with law enforcement and Adult Protective Services to facilitate timely response to reports.
- Coordinate efforts with agencies and service organizations to educate older account holders, caregivers, and the public.
The Bureau invites institutions to consider these recommendations as they assess their own current practices.