Financial Advisors: the First Line of Defense against Financial Exploitation

Although older Americans with impaired memory or cognitive problems may appear healthy and retain social skills, their financial capacity—that is, their ability to manage money, pay bills and debts, and make prudent decisions regarding investments and risk—may nevertheless be significantly diminished. Not surprisingly, therefore, financial advisors are often the first people to notice when a person begins to show signs of cognitive impairment—sometimes even before the individual or family become aware. A full 75 percent of advisors in a recent …

Study: Financial Exploitation Connected to Brain Changes in Healthy Older Adults

Older adults with otherwise healthy brains sometimes develop biological changes that could put them at risk for financial exploitation, according to a study published earlier this year by researchers from Cornell and York universities. Previous studies had identified a link between brain disease (mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease ) and increased risk of financial exploitation, but this is the first study to look for biological risk factors among otherwise healthy adults who are aging normally.   What the Study Reveals …

New FINRA Rules Provide Big Benefits in the Fight Against Financial Exploitation

The fight against the financial exploitation of older Americans is about to get a whole lot easier.   The 50+ are prime targets of financial exploitation because they own 67 percent of U.S. bank deposits – and because factors including health status, cognitive ability, and social isolation can make them more vulnerable. Beginning February 5, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) will enact a pair of rules that will provide brokers with additional tools to protect their older clients and …

Good for Business: Making the Case to Fight Financial Exploitation

Financial exploitation is an issue that demands financial institutions’ attention. Banks lose an estimated $1 billion (and rising) annually in deposits. Thieves especially target older Americans (those over 50), with good reason — these customers own two-thirds of all bank deposits. An estimated 1 in 5 older Americans are victims of financial exploitation. Despite these statistics, many financial institutions may not immediately see the business case for fighting exploitation. Executives and managers may believe that the additional training, manpower and …

Is Your Bank Ready to Age With You?

After attending a 2011 U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing where my report on the cost of exploitation was quoted, I discussed the growing problem of financial exploitation with a banker. In minutes over a burger, we identified a way a family caregiver could watch over a loved one’s bank account without giving the caregiver access to make transactions. We implemented this account feature a few months later at Bank of American Fork. Many financial institutions have developed simple and …

Helping Banks Stop the Financial Exploitation of Older Americans

As a teenager, I was friends with an amazing woman named Kaye. She was a nurse during World War II, and after the war, she and her husband — a baron of Poland — worked with Radio Free Europe to help bring freedom to people trapped behind the Iron Curtain. During the time that I knew her, Kaye was the victim of several instances of financial exploitation. She had poor eyesight, which made it easier for people to take advantage …