The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently issued a stunning report on elder financial exploitation based on Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed by financial institutions. These SARs reports are filed by financial institutions that observe suspicious activity in a customer’s account, and filed with the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
The report, titled “Suspicious Activity Reports on Elder Financial Exploitation: Issues and Trends,” (pdf) is the first such study since FinCEN specifically designated a category for “elder financial exploitation” (EFE) on SARs reports in 2013. The study found that since 2013, financial institutions filed over 180,000 SARs involving elder financial fraud, involving more than $6 billion. Among the report’s findings:
- SARs filings on elder financial exploitation quadrupled from 2013 to 2017.
- One third of the individuals who lost money were aged 80 and over.
- Adults aged 70-79 had the highest average monetary loss ($45,300).
- Losses were greater when the older adult knew the suspect.
- Fewer than one-third of EFE SARs indicated that the filer (financial institution) reported the suspicious activity to a local, state or federal authority.
- Based on recent prevalence studies, the study’s statistics represent only a tiny fraction of actual incidents of elder financial exploitation.
The report confirms what regulators and law enforcement already knew — that elder financial exploitation is widespread and damaging, and highlights the need for strong intervention by financial institutions, law enforcement, social services and policymakers.
- There are a number of resources available if you or someone you know may have been the victim of elder financial exploitation:
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Older Americans (855) 411-2372
- National Elder Law Foundation (520) 881-1076
- Adult Protective Services in your state (In Pennsylvania: Department of Aging (717) 783-1550)
- State Securities Regulators (In Pennsylvania: Department of Banking and Securities (717) 787-2665
- Office of Attorney General—Protecting Seniors (717) 787-3391
If you have any concerns about your investments, please contact the Law Office of Scott Lane for a no-cost, no-obligation evaluation of your specific facts and circumstances. You may have a viable claim for recovery of your investment losses by filing an arbitration claim with FINRA.