June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Washington, D.C. (June 15, 2022) — June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and its Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation (SHCPF) subsidiary are providing tips for preventing the disturbing trend of elder financial abuse.
Elder abuse losses are estimated at $3 billion annually, with an average loss of $120,000 per victim, according to the National Adult Protective Services Association. Financial abuse can take many forms — from investment scams, lottery schemes and stolen jewelry to identity theft, credit card misuse and forged checks — yet only one in 44 cases of financial abuse are ever reported, putting the true cost as high a $35.5 billion.
“It is heartbreaking to see the cases of elder financial abuse and scamming across our country,” said David Lenoir, president and CEO of CRA Partners’ Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation (SHCPF). “We are working in lockstep with the nation’s community banks to reverse this trend through educational resources to help senior citizens safeguard the financial assets that they’ve built over a lifetime.”
ICBA and SHCPF offer the following suggestions on ways to prevent elder financial abuse:
Secure private information such as Social Security cards, passports, bank account numbers, financial statements, medical records, and other legal documents in a bank safety deposit box.
Check bank accounts and bill statements carefully. If you notice unauthorized charges or unusual activity, alert your bank immediately.
Do not disclose personal information, such as bank account numbers or PINs, to anyone in a phone call, letter, email, or text message claiming to be from an established organization, especially if they ask you to wire funds or send private information.
Ask your local community bank about available resources to help protect you or your loved ones from scams and exploitation.
Plan ahead by giving a trusted person the legal authority to make financial decisions on your behalf if you’re unable and making sure your bank has a record of who can manage your money.
Contact your local adult protective services agency and law enforcement if you have information about a fraud or suspect you may have encountered financial abuse.
“Community banks are committed to protecting members of our communities, including our elderly neighbors, who are unfortunately frequent targets of financial exploitation,” said ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey. “To ensure you and your loved ones remain free from financial exploitation, reach out to your local trusted community banker for guidance and assistance.”
To learn more about elder financial abuse and prevention strategies, visit icba.org/eldercare. For more information about SHCPF, visit SHCPFoundation.org.
The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services.
With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute roughly 99 percent of all banks, employ nearly 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding nearly $5.9 trillion in assets, over $4.9 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.5 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.
The Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation mission is to provide protection and an enhanced quality of life for vulnerable senior housing residents through meaningful turnkey CRA compliance for community focused banks.
Funded exclusively by the banking industry and endorsed by the ICBA and over 30 state bankers’ associations, the Foundation has developed a low-risk, profitable solution — CRA Partners — for banks of all asset sizes and charter types – to fulfill their federally mandated Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requirements in the form of qualified loans, investments or grants through the operation of their nationally acclaimed Senior Crimestoppers and other programs.