Four ways to support your community’s fight against elder financial exploitation

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Four ways to support your community’s fight against elder financial exploitation

Financial exploitation robs millions of older people of their money and property every year. To prevent and respond to the crisis of elder financial exploitation, people are working together in hundreds of communities across our nation.

These networks of people bring together, among others, community volunteers, local law enforcement, social workers, health care and legal professionals, banks and credit unions, government agencies, and accountants. Networks combat financial exploitation through different activities. Many are educating their community, training professionals, coordinating efforts between agencies, and reviewing cases of financial exploitation.

Today we are releasing a report with recommendations that describes how networks help to protect older people. There are networks in hundreds of communities nationwide. There is also an opportunity for building new networks, especially in communities where  elders are a large share of the population.     

Here are four ways you can help to protect older people in your community from financial exploitation:

  1. Find a local network and attend their meetings and activities. Many networks conduct meetings to raise awareness about safety and common frauds and scams. Find out if there is a network in your community and when it meets by contacting your local sheriff, police department, or local Area Agency on Aging.
  2. Share what you learn with others.  You can help your networks’ educational and prevention work by sharing the information with your family, friends, and neighbors. Check out this resource that others are passing on.
  3. Lend a hand.  Many networks depend on volunteers to carry out their activities. Retired lawyers, bankers, teachers, police officers, and others serve as leaders and train others to detect, prevent, and respond to financial exploitation. Many volunteers also support their network’s educational work by reaching out to community and faith-based groups.  Many are serving as trainers for educational programs, such as Money Smart for Older Adults . Ask your local network if they need an extra hand.
  4. Build a network. If you live in one of the nearly 2,300 counties without a network, create a network in your community. Learn more about existing networks and get some tips on how to start a network in your community.

Together we can build communities that support the safety and independence of older people by protecting them from financial predators.

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