Three bills designed to protect seniors from financial fraud are moving through the Senate Judiciary Committee with bi-partisan sponsorship and support.
A new model state law adopted by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) requires financial advisors and firms to report suspected financial exploitation of seniors to regulators and adult protective services offices.
NASAA also has proposed model state legislation that would allow financial institutions to place a 10-day hold on disbursements whenever firms or advisors believe harm may result to an investor age 60 or older. FINRA has requested comments on a proposed rule that would do the same for accounts of people age 65 and older.
Stronger legal protections are: 1) expanding and clarifying the definition of senior financial fraud; and 2) expanding the audience of potential victims to include anyone above a certain age (e.g., 60 or 65). In the past, some statutes have focused only on fraud against mentally impaired seniors or those living in institutions.
Claims of financial fraud often are made against family members, including those closely involved in senior caretaking. Consider these situations, and ask yourself whether they involve senior fraud:
A husband is caring for his 66-year-old wife, who is temporarily
incapacitated following a stroke. The husband wants to liquidate funds
from the wife’s checking account, in her sole name, to pay for care. He
writes and dates the check and guides the pen in her hand as she signs.
Several weeks later, their daughter files a charge against him, claiming
A son is caring for his 85-year-old father in an assisted-living
facility. The father does not have access to a computer, but does have
an online account at MySocialSecurity.com. The son goes to the site,
verifies the father’s identity, and logs on with the father’s username
and password. The son then changes the bank account for receiving the
father’s Social Security benefits, so the son can access benefits to pay
for the care facility. Weeks later, a family member sees this change,
asks the father if he authorized it, and files a claim of senior
financial abuse against the son.
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Protect clients and caregivers against claims of senior financial fraud