|Organization:||Division of Banks|
|Referenced Sources:||World Elder Abuse Awareness Day June 15|
Every year on June 15th, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is commemorated around the world. In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Division of Banks (Division) is providing a consumer advisory with tips and resources for seniors.
Individuals over the age of 60 make up the largest growing segment of our population. This age group may be at risk for abuse and are often targeted by dishonest people. One of the most devastating and unrecognized forms of abuse is financial abuse. AARP has outlined warning signs of elder financial fraud and abuse to watch for:
- Lack of knowledge about major financial issues: One immediate red flag is when an older person who was previously engaged and sharp begins to demonstrate a significant lack of recall about important matters.
- Physical frailty issues: Mental decline isn't the only thing that makes an aging person more vulnerable to financial abuse. Often, older individuals don't have the physical strength or mobility to handle household chores and maintenance as they were once accustomed.
- Isolation: If relatives do not live nearby, and friends do not regularly check in, it's easy for strangers to step in and befriend an elderly person for financial gain.
- Questionable behavior of relatives: People who financially exploit the elderly come from all backgrounds and walks of life. If a relative also serving as a caretaker has a sudden change in lifestyle, make sure that change isn’t being subsidized by the elder at home.
The Division compiled a list of resources to help prevent and protect you or someone you love from falling victim to elder financial abuse. In Massachusetts, elder abuse reports can be filed 24 hours a day with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs online or by phone at 800-922-2275.
- Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs promotes independence, empowerment, and well-being of older people, individuals with disabilities, and their families.
- AARP Foundation ElderWatch helps older consumers recognize, refuse, and report fraud and scams. This website provides additional information and tools to help protect consumers against financial exploitation.
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Consumer News: Protecting Seniors from Financial Abuse.
- Cooperative Credit Union Association Senior Safeguard is an online program developed to fight the financial scams and fraud being perpetrated against the elderly.
Only one in 44 elder financial abuse cases get reported, according to the National Adult Protective Services Association. There are 2 ways to report elder abuse in Massachusetts: by calling the Elder Abuse Hotline or filing a report online. If there is an emergency or life-threatening situation that must be dealt with immediately, call 911.
Report elder abuse 24 hours a day:
- Massachusetts Adult Protective Services Online Reporting System
- Call Massachusetts Elder Abuse Hotline at 800-922-2275
When filing an elder abuse report, you are protected by Massachusetts laws if the report was made in good faith. Filing a report in ‘good faith’ means having an honest and sincere intention without trying to seek an unfair advantage or to defraud another party.
The Division also provides resources for its regulated entities on elder financial abuse.