Financial Exploitation of Elders
Some elders (defined as individuals over the age of 60) may be targets for financial exploitation because they may be: socially isolated or dependent on others for assistance; afraid to report or speak out or embarrassed; trusting; facing cognitive or physical decline; or experiencing changes in financial or economic status.
Elders may face financial exploitation by strangers generally in the same way any other vulnerable population might be susceptible to a scam. Occasionally, however, elders face exploitation by family, friends, or people with a fiduciary or trusted relationship.
Some of these risks include: misappropriation or mismanagement of income or assets; obtaining money or property by undue influence, misrepresentation or fraud; improper or fraudulent use of the power of attorney or fiduciary authority (including signing documents without elder's consent); or charging excessive rent or fees for services.
Massachusetts Bank Reporting Project
The Massachusetts Bank Reporting Project is a public-private partnership among the Executive Office of Elder Affairs , the Attorney General's Office, the Massachusetts Bankers Association, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations, and the Division of Banks. The project was started in 1996, with a goal of preventing financial exploitation of elders (individuals over the age of 60).
This collaboration of agencies and organizations provides the resources and training to banks, who participate on a volunteer basis. Banks are trained on the warning signs and ways to recognize possible financial exploitation, as well as the laws surrounding reporting and privacy. Along with the training, each bank designates a point-person to raise awareness among their staff and to develop bank protocols for addressing with customers and reporting concerns to protective services when appropriate. Banks may also provide customer outreach through pamphlets, posters, billing inserts, and community programs.
Contact your bank directly to find out if they are participating in this project, and to ask about materials or information about preventing the financial exploitation of elders. Banks who are interested in taking part in this project should contact the Massachusetts Bankers Association at (617) 523-7595.