Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2019: ACFCS highlights tips, tactics to counter scammers targeting country’s most vulnerable population
June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month, and June 15 is Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a designation meant to highlight the ongoing criminal tactics targeting one of the world’s most vulnerable populations, and better sensitize financial crime compliance professionals, law enforcement and caregivers about an issue growing in scope.
The issue of how to protect the elderly and spot fraudsters attempting to take advantage of the elderly is also very important to the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS).
We have extensively covered the dynamics at play in detailed stories, webinars and during live events, a challenge as standard anti-money laundering (AML) compliance risk assessments may miss the more nuanced red flags at play in this crime.
For instance, in most cases, direct relatives and caregivers are low-risk entities tied to certain accounts, where compliance analysts typically look for risky entities outside the bank trying to break in – but that changes when the elderly are involved.
Ironically, for many cases of elder abuse, it is a close family member attempting to take advantage of an elder parent or relative that is incapable of saying no to certain transactions when individuals attempt to drain their savings, investments or run up credit card debt in their name.
According to the Census Bureau’s “middle series” projections, the elderly population will more than double between now and the year 2050, to 80 million. By that year, as many as 1 in 5 Americans could be elderly.
This puts more pressure on bank compliance teams to look for the signs of elder abuse, including:
- Has an elder customer with a stable account balance suddenly started incurring non-sufficient funds (NSF) charges or low account balance?
- Has an elder customer account shown a large increase in withdrawals or checks to unfamiliar recipients?
- Do accounts of an elder customer show large transfers into the account from investment accounts, only to be quickly withdrawn?
- Is an elder customer with no or infrequent ATM withdrawals now showing an increased pattern of ATM withdrawals?
- Is an elder customer with consistent spending patterns now showing a sharp increase in spending?
To help compliance teams and investigators better spot transactions tied to crimes against the elderly, ACFCS has culled some guidance and tips from our archives.
While usually available only to members, we’ve unlocked this content for public access to help spread awareness of this critical topic, and the role all financial crime professionals can play in combating elder financial exploitation, (via ACFCS).