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AARP Recognizes Banks for Efforts to Curb Financial Exploitation

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En español | Banks, credit unions and financial advisory firms are arming their employees with the information and training needed to recognize and stop financial exploitation before it happens.

This month, AARP gave 167 financial organizations our BankSafe Trained Seal, acknowledging their commitment to fighting financial exploitation, which costs older adults more than $28.3 billion a year in the U.S. (when factoring in cases that go unreported).

AARP’s free BankSafe program uses short, interactive videos and exercises to train financial sector workers on how to spot red flags and intervene before a financial crime is committed. This year, AARP saw a 25 percent increase in BankSafe seal recipients compared with last year, with more than a third of the institutions having earned the recognition at least three times in the past five years.

“These financial organizations continue to take meaningful steps to ensure their staff have the tools, skills and confidence to spot and stop financial exploitation before money ever leaves an account,” said Jilenne Gunther, national director of AARP’s BankSafe Initiative.

The average victim has lost $120,000 to financial exploitation, and the crime is too often committed by a family member or someone the victim knows.

BankSafe-trained employees have helped prevent nearly $300 million from being stolen from the accounts of older adults since 2019, according to a Virginia Tech study.

To earn the seal, organizations must train 80 percent of their frontline staff using our platform, and pursue policies to address suspected financial exploitation. Recipients must also be in good standing with the Better Business Bureau and meet certain regulatory and legal standards.

In recent years, we’ve revamped our courses to cover criminals’ latest tactics, which exploded during the pandemic. And this year, we expanded BankSafe into the peer-to-peer payment industry. PayPal and Venmo are now using the program to educate employees on financial exploitation red flags and prevention tactics.

For a list of the 2024 BankSafe Trained Seal recipients and more information about the program, visit the BankSafe webpage. Keep up with our scams and fraud coverage, and learn how to protect yourself with resources from AARP’s Fraud Watch Network.

Natalie Missakian covers federal and state policy and writes AARP’s Fighting for You Every Day blog. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Haven Register and daily newspapers in Ohio. She has also written for the AARP Bulletin, the Hartford Business Journal and other publications.

Also of Interest:

Bank Impersonation Is the Most Common Text Scam: What You Need to Know
How to Avoid Scams on Zelle, Venmo and Other P2P Apps
6 Top Scams to Watch Out for in 2024


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