FinCEN Warns Institutions of Elder Financial Fraud

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published an advisory to assist the financial industry in reporting instances of financial exploitation of the elderly on Tuesday.

The advisory contains examples of “red flags” based on activity identified by various state and federal agencies and provides a common narrative term that will assist law enforcement in better identifying suspected cases of financial exploitation of the elderly reported in SARs.

“Financial institutions can play a key role in addressing elder financial exploitation due to the nature of the client relationship,” said FinCEN.  “Often, financial institutions are quick to suspect elder financial exploitation based on bank personnel familiarity with their elderly customers.”

According to the alert, there has been an upward trend at the federal level in Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) describing instances of suspected elder financial exploitation.  Analysis of SARs reporting elder financial exploitation can provide critical information about specific frauds and potential trends, and can highlight abuses perpetrated against the elderly.

“Financial institutions care about their customers and in some cases may be uniquely placed to identify when customers are possible victims of elder financial exploitation,” said James H. Freis, Jr., FinCEN Director. “Elder abuse in any form is intolerable. Working with feedback from financial institutions, FinCEN developed this new red flags tool as a way for depository institutions in particular to combat elder financial exploitation.”

Some of the potential indicators of elder financial exploitation include erratic or unusual banking transactions, or changes in banking patterns, frequent large withdrawals, including daily maximum currency withdrawals from an ATM, ncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money, and more.

To view a copy of the full report, see here.


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