September 1, 2016

CFPB Reports on Elder Financial Abuse

2 min

On August 23, 2016, the CFPB's Office for Older Americans released another report with recommendations regarding the fight against elder financial exploitation. Older Americans are vulnerable to financial attacks, and, according to the CFPB, roughly 17% report being victims of financial exploitation. The report estimates that, as a result, seniors have lost anywhere between $2.9 billion and $36.5 billion.

To combat these losses, the report highlights how hundreds of counties across the country (approximately 25%) are coordinating efforts to prevent, identify, and respond to this financial abuse. The efforts focus on protection partnerships, or "networks," where community stakeholders use case reviews, consultations, community education, and other methods to identify and respond to the abuse. The report states that such efforts reduce the amount of elderly financial abuse and improve communication among the service providers, responders, and other stakeholders.

The report includes several recommendations to assist communities in protecting older Americans against financial exploitation. For instance, the CFPB recommends that protection partnerships include law enforcement and financial institutions in order to better respond to abuse. Another recommendation is to focus on underserved and racially and ethnically diverse communities to respond to the needs of the elderly population, for example, by providing translation services. The CFPB also released a resource guide with a set of best practices to accompany the report and recommendations.

Margaret Kelly is a law clerk and is not yet admitted to practice law.