Chayet & Danzo, LLC Chayet & Danzo, LLC
Call for a Free Initial Consultation
Direct 303-872-5980
Toll-Free 888-472-1088
Email Us
Compassion, talent and dedication: guiding colorado families and Their Trusted Advisors During Times of Need

Senior financial abuse is on the rise: How can it be stopped?

The Treasury Department reported that suspected cases of elder financial abuse had more than doubled from five years ago to 24,454. The problem may continue to grow, as projections show that by 2030, 25 percent of the U.S. population (one in five Americans) will be age 65 or older.

Who has the largest share of bank deposits? Not surprisingly, those over age 50 make up about a third of the population, but have 70 percent of bank deposits, according to the American Bankers Association. Federal and state laws are prompting banks to take a more active role in preventing their customers from being taken advantage of by scammers.

Grandchild scam, social media and landlines

The scams are numerous and constantly becoming more sophisticated. In our post from July 2018, we covered a number of variations.

The grandchild scam starts with a call from someone claiming to be a friend of a grandchild. The caller might claim a serious accident happened and ask the grandparent to send money. Or it may be someone posing as an attorney asking for money to cover bail and legal fees after a grandchild was arrested for a DUI accident.

An assistant branch manager at a bank in Connecticut heard one of these stories from a customer in her late 70s. Before wiring the requested $30,000, she suggested calling other family members. That call made a difference, it turned out he was safe and had been at school. The assistant manager received a Fraud Fighter award, but noted that many bank employees can “see it when something is not right.”

Unfortunately, many scams involve caregivers and family members. Some bankers blame increasing adoption of social media by older Americans for increases in fraud cases targeting elders. Seniors are also the most likely to have landlines with listed phone numbers. They may be more likely to pick up as well.

From new laws to training programs

Banks must walk a fine like, however, because scams are not always obvious. Customer privacy can become an issue and for elderly customers, questioning may feel patronizing. A delayed or canceled transaction could also mean a customer misses an opportunity.

A federal law called the Senior Safe Act lets bank employees report suspected elder financial abuse to police. Several states have gone further by allowing bank employees to delay or refuse transactions or contact family members to ask about a suspicious money transfer.

Many banks have started training employees on detecting, reporting and stopping issues in a way that does not violate customer privacy. This includes recognizing red flags, such as ATM use after midnight.

While it is sad and depressing that scam artists continue to prey on older Americans, this post is meant as a reminder to stay vigilant. By communicating at a family level and a wider community level, we can protect those most at risk.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Watch Our Firm Video

We are the premier Elder Law firm in the Colorado region. We set ourselves apart from other law firms in the area with our talent, dedication, compassion and ability of our attorneys to handle any case in Elder Law. We serve Colorado families with experience and dignity in your time of need.

View More Videos

Denver Office
650 S.Cherry St., Suite 710
Denver, CO 80246

Toll Free: 1-888-472-1088
Phone: 303-872-5980
Fax: 303-355-8501
Denver Law Office Map

Edwards Office
105 Edwards Village Blvd.
Edwards, CO 81632

Toll Free: 888-472-1088
Toll Free: 1-888-472-1088
Fax: 303-355-8501
Edwards Law Office Map

Aspen Office
600 East Hopkins Avenue
Suite 301
Aspen, CO 81611

Toll Free: 888-472-1088
Toll Free: 1-888-472-1088
Fax: 303-355-8501
Aspen Law Office Map

  • Rated by Super Lawyers Macro Chayet
  • Rated by Super Lawyers Frank J. Danzo, III
  • Member National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. TM
  • Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb Top Attorney Elder Law
  • 2015 Five Star Professional Wealth Manager Multi-Year Winner
  • Our new 2015 Medicaid Book: how to protect your Family's Assets from devastating nursing home costs
  • Proud Sponsor 2015-Denver Colorado Senior Law Day
  • Peer Review Rated For Ethical standards & Legal Ability TM Martindale Hubbell
  • Haystack