WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) today issued an to financial institutions urging them to report to the appropriate local, state and federal authorities whenever they suspect that an older adult is the target or victim of financial exploitation. The Bureau also recommended that financial institutions file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) with the federal government when they suspect elder financial exploitation (EFE). Today’s updated advisory builds on the Bureau’s earlier recommendations and its recent research on elder financial abuse. It contains voluntary best practices to help financial institutions prevent and respond to EFE.
“The Bureau is renewing its efforts to alert banks and credit unions to elder financial exploitation as they are uniquely positioned to detect that an older account holder has been targeted or victimized, and to take action,” said Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathleen L. Kraninger. “The Bureau stands ready to work with federal, state and local authorities and financial institutions to protect older adults from abusive financial practices that rob them of their financial security.”
In a 2019 research report, the Bureau underscored the importance of reporting EFE to the relevant authorities, based on a study of 180,000 EFE SARs filed from 2013 to 2017. The Bureau found that EFE is widespread and damaging, with an average loss of $41,800 among adults over the age of 70 who sustained a loss and with 7% of adults losing over $100,000. The Bureau’s analysis of SARs found that less than one-third of EFE SARs (28 percent) state that the filing institution also reported the activity directly to Adult Protective Services, law enforcement or other authorities. As of April 2019, 26 states plus the District of Columbia mandate reporting of suspected EFE by financial institutions or specified financial professionals.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit www.consumerfinance.gov.