CFPB Findings on Elder Financial Exploitation

Be prepared. Be protected

As we age and our assets accrue, the need to protect that which belongs to us and our loved ones becomes more and more pronounced. There is an increasing trend in America of individuals and institutions taking advantage of the aged community and exploiting them for money or possessions. It is always important to consult with a legal and/or financial professional before signing over your rights to or possession of anything. We have decades of experience working with folks across Central New York with their estate planning and asset protection. Contact us today to make sure you and/or your loved ones are protected from and aware of potential fraud or financial exploitation.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a report at the end of February of this year that details a concerning uptick in instances of exploitation and fraud associated with the elderly population. In their “Suspicious Activity Reports on Elder Financial Exploitation: Issues and Trends” the CFPB determined that since 2013 financial institutions have reported over 180,000 suspicious activities targeting older and elderly Americans. Over this 5-year period, suspicious activities involved more than 6 billion dollars. The report presents findings of studies of elder financial exploitation Suspicious Activity Reports (EFE SARs) filed with the federal government by financial institutions such as banks and money services between ’13 and ’17.

Elder financial exploitation can be perpetrated by a broad variance of people from closer family members to offshore scammers calling landlines and quickly demanding personal information claiming to be financial institutions like your bank or the IRS. Although the CFPB has found such an extensive network of exploitation and fraud recorded over a five year period, the majority of instances most likely do not go reported. Estimates of losses annually range from 2.9 to 36.5 billion dollars.

CFPB findings on financial exploitation

More information can be found in the complete report by clicking here. Below are the listed key findings of the report:

•SAR filings on elder financial exploitation quadrupled from 2013 to 2017. In 2017, elder financial exploitation (EFE) SARs totaled 63,500. Based on recent prevalence studies, these 2017 SARs likely represent a tiny fraction of actual incidents of elder financial exploitation.

•Money services businesses have filed an increasing share of EFE SARs.In 2016, money services business (MSB) filings surpassed depository institution (DI) filings. In 2017, MSB SARs comprised 58 percent of EFE SARs, compared to 15 percent in 2013.

•Financial institutions reported a total of $1.7 billion in suspicious activities in 2017, including actual losses and attempts to steal the older adults’ funds

•Nearly 80 percent of EFE SARs involved a monetary loss to older adults and/or filers (i.e. financial institutions).

•In EFE SARs involving a loss to an older adult, the average amount lost was $34,200. In 7 percent of these EFE SARs, the loss exceeded $100,000.

•When a filer lost money, the average loss per filer was $16,700.

•One third of the individuals who lost money were ages 80 and older.

•Adults ages 70 to 79 had the highest average monetary loss ($45,300).

•Losses were greater when the older adult knew the suspect. The average loss per person was about $50,000 when the older adult knew the suspect and $17,000 when the suspect was a stranger.

•Types of suspicious activity varied significantly by filer.When the filer was an MSB, 69 percent of EFE SARs described scams by strangers. DI filings, in contrast, involved an array of financial crimes, with 27 percent involving stranger scams.

•More than half of EFE SARs involved a money transfer. The second-most common financial product used to move funds was a checking or savings account (44 percent).

•Checking or savings accounts had the highest monetary losses. The average monetary loss to the older adult was $48,300 for EFE SARs involving a checking or savings account while the average loss was $32,800 for EFE SARs involving a money transfer.

•The suspicious activity reported in an EFE SAR took place, on average, over a four-month period.

•Fewer than one-third of EFE SARs indicated that the filer reported the suspicious activity to a local, state, or federalauthority. Only one percent of MSB SARs stated that the MSB reported the suspicious activity in the SAR to a government entity such as adult protective services or law enforcement.

Remember, never give away personal information over the phone or internet unless you are 100% certain of the identity and intent of the individual you are giving it to.

For further information contact us today!