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State toolkit aims to help professionals spot elder fraud

Would you know if someone were taking advantage of your elderly client?

The state Department of Banking and Securities released a toolkit Wednesday intended to help professionals recognize when their clients may be victims of elder financial abuse.

The kit lists red flags to watch for, as well as links to videos on the topic, information about free training offered by the state and detailed instructions for sharing educational material on social media.

Abusers often target older relatives or acquaintances who have mild cognitive impairments and who may not be able to make financial decisions on their own. The abusers take advantage of the victims by finding ways to take their money or assets and use them for their own financial gain.

Professionals who provide legal, medical or financial services to elderly clients are uniquely positioned to spot this kind of abuse, even when people close to the victim are unaware it is happening. Signs to watch for include pressure from a client’s caregiver to share money or change a will, an elderly client frequently making mistakes in managing money, and noticeable changes in a client’s financial patterns, state officials say.

The Department of Banking and Securities has ranked prevention of elder financial abuse as one of its top priorities since Gov. Tom Wolf announced a consumer financial protection initiative in 2015. The initiative also includes efforts to combat “easy money” schemes and to encourage residents to save more for retirement.

The toolkit is available for viewing and download on the department’s website.

Jennifer Wentz
Jennifer Wentz covers Lancaster County, York County, financial services, taxation and legal services. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at [email protected].

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