Updated: Apr 18, 2019
In 2018, financial scams against elders increased by 12 percent. The U.S. Treasury Department reported more than 24,000 reports from financial institutions. States and the federal government are working hard to change laws that make it easier to prevent these scams.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority created two ways to help in 2019. One of these regulations allows financial institutions to put holds on withdrawals from accounts if the bank feels the money is going to a scammer. The second requires financial institutions to ask for contact information and a name for someone the client trusts to help if a scam is suspected.
These are federal regulations being added. What about individual states? What changes are coming for seniors living in different states?
In 2018, Minnesota lawmakers passed the Safe Seniors Financial Protection Act. This law requires workers in financial institutions to identify and stop fraudulent activity. They must ask seniors to choose a family member or friend to help them in case of a scam. Banks can refuse withdrawals until enough proof that the request isn't related to a scam is offered.
In Ohio, the governor signed a bill into law. In this case, anyone caught defrauding a senior citizen is fined up to $50,000 and must pay back that senior. The fine will be put into funding an agency to investigate all types of elder abuse. It also adds financial institutions to report cases of possible financial abuse of elders to the proper authority.
To fight the financial abuse of the elderly, Tennessee lawmakers worked on a bill that would raise penalties against anyone convicted of scamming a senior out of money, property, or anything else of value. House Bill 799 specifically adds scams that are performed over the phone or an electronic device like a computer.
West Virginia also took action a year ago by creating an elder abuse division. The division includes a team of attorneys to prosecute anyone who abuses the elderly through scams, abuse, or neglect. It also creates a database of scams to help educate seniors and their families of what scams are prevalent.
Help keep your parent from falling for a scam. If mental abilities have diminished enough that managing money is a challenge for them, set someone up to help your parents pay bills and manage their finances. If they're prone to believe a scam when answering the phone, emails, or the front door, hire caregivers to help detect scams.
In addition to companionship and security, caregivers help with many other activities of daily living. Call now to find out more.
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