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Top Ten Red Flags Of Elder Financial Abuse

Over Two Million Elders Victimized by Financial Abuse Each Year.

Elder financial abuse plagues over two million Americans each year and is the number one crime committed against persons age 65 and older, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, this phenomenon will grow into epidemic proportions if it continues to run unreported.

Dr. Linda Eagle, President of The Edcomm Group, advises banks on the critical role they play in helping to stem elder financial abuse. According to Eagle, “Just as doctors are often the first to spot the signs of physical abuse, front line bank personnel have the best perspective from which to spot elder financial abuse.” In recognition of this fact, many states have passed legislation requiring bank employees to report all suspected cases of elder financial abuse.

According to Dr. Eagle, the following are the top ten signs banks should be aware of to detect possible elder financial abuse:

1. Sudden changes in an elder’s bank accounts or banking practices.

2. Uncharacteristic and unexplained withdrawals of large sums of money by an elder or someone with Power of Attorney for an elder.

3. Large credit card transactions or checks written to unusual recipients such as salesmen, telemarketers or “Cash.”

4. Abrupt changes in a will or other financial document; transfer of an elder’s assets to a family member or acquaintance without a reasonable explanation.

5. Complaints of stolen or misplaced credit cards, valuables, checkbooks or checks from social security, pensions and annuities.

6. Elders who appear nervous when accompanied by another individual or give far-fetched explanations of why they need money.

7. Elders who appear puzzled by increases in incurred debt or credit card transactions.

8. A person accompanying an elder who bullies him or her into making a withdrawal or does not allow the elder to speak for him or herself.

9. New signatories added to an elder’s account or newly formed joint accounts between an elder and another individual.

10. Possible forged signatures on financial transactions, documents for transfer of assets or new applications for items such as credit cards.

“It’s in the best interest of banks across the country to take an active role in training their employees now because more and more states will likely pass legislation in the near future.” Eagle added, “Banks that take a proactive role now to train their employees to spot and report elder financial abuse, send a positive message to seniors in the community that ‘our bank is safe and is looking out for your best interests.’”

Dr. Eagle, who has appeared on CNN Money and National Public Radio, has extensive expertise in bank industry training, elder financial abuse, information security and banking compliance issues. The Edcomm Group (www.edcomm.com and www.bankersacademy.com) has provided educational programs to over 250 banks, covering all aspects of banking, including compliance and teller training.

The Edcomm Group is a 19-year-old multimedia education and communication consulting firm specializing in the development of creative business solutions that improve productivity, customer service and market share, providing bottom-line results.

For more information on elder financial abuse, other banking compliances or regulatory issues, please visit www.edcomm.com or www.bankersacademy.com

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