Author: Deborah Crawford, President of Gettechnical, Inc.
One of the saddest and most disturbing crimes is watching our elderly suffer from financial exploitation. It could be a romantic scam, check scam, problem with a caregiver, unusual transactions of the customer’s account, and it could be costing your customer his or her life savings. What can you do? What is the response?
Financial institutions are now engaging in the process of protecting our elderly. Frontline staff should be trained on recognizing when an elderly person may be taken advantage, including:
- Large cash withdrawals or cashing checks in the presence of family members
- Non-sufficient funds activity with no past history
- Non-payment of services
- First time debit card transactions
Unfortunately, most elderly abusers are close friends, acquaintances, caregivers or family members who take advantage of situations of cognitive decline.
So, what can a frontline staff person do? Gather your facts, and tell your BSA officer, so they can report it to the local elder protective services. Try to recognize warning signs when an elder is being exploited and address the issue immediately. If you are concerned that an elderly family member may have been the victim of fraud or other abuse, ask him or her directly. One of the reasons elder abuse is underreported is that well-meaning onlookers are afraid to act unless they’re certain that abuse is occurring.
Financial elderly abuse is a serious crime, and financial institutions are taking action. Take five minutes to view my video blog to learn more about how to identify signs and what you can do to help prevent this from happening to others.
Deborah Crawford is the President of Gettechnical Inc., a Virginia based training company. She specializes in the deposit side of the financial institution and is an instructor on IRAs, BSA, Deposit Regulations and opening account procedures. She was formerly with Hibernia National Bank (now Capital One) and has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Louisiana State University. She has 30+ years of combined teaching and banking experience.