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CFPB Releases Guides for Managing Someone Else's Money; Cornerstone Offers Elder Financial Abuse and Exploitation Webinar
Thursday, October 31, 2013 7:00 AM

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has published four guides to help financial caregivers, particularly those who handle the finances of older Americans, carry out their duties and responsibilities in managing someone else’s money.

“In order to protect our seniors, we must educate the caregiver generation,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Today, the Consumer Bureau is publishing a series of guides called ‘Managing Someone Else’s Money.’ The guides are designed to help people meet the responsibility of managing money for a loved one.”

The CFPB released guides that explain the four main responsibilities of a fiduciary:

  • Act in the person’s best interest: The first duty is to act in the person’s best interest, which means, for example, that the fiduciary should not loan or give the person’s money to themselves or others. The fiduciary should avoid conflicts of interest, and the guides provide examples of actions that may pose conflicts.
  • Manage money and property carefully: The second responsibility is to manage the money and property carefully—such as by paying bills on time, protecting unspent funds, investing carefully, and having a list of all monies, properties, and debts.
  • Keep money and property separate from own: The third responsibility is to keep the money and property separate from the fiduciary’s own. That means avoiding joint accounts and paying the person’s expenses from their own funds, not from the fiduciary’s funds.
  • Maintain good records: Lastly, the fiduciary should maintain good records. The fiduciary should keep a detailed list of the money received or spent on the person’s behalf, avoid paying in cash in order to have a record of purchases, and keep all receipts.

All of the guides contain tips on how to spot financial exploitation and avoid scams. Older consumers can be attractive targets for scams and financial exploitation because they often have higher household wealth in the form of retirement savings, accumulated home equity, or other assets. Common signs that someone is being exploited financially include atypical frequent ATM usage, multiple attempts to wire large amounts of money, and spending money on unusual items.

The Cornerstone Credit Union League’s REAL Solutions initiative is doing what it can to help stop elder financial abuse and exploitation. On Nov. 21, it will host a free webinar that will guide participants through the essentials of elder financial exploitation so that credit unions and their valued members are protected from the consequences of fraud.

Elder financial abuse and exploitation is an escalating problem. A 2012 survey found that 7.3 million older Americans (one in five of those over age 65) have been victims of financial theft. The seemingly unlikely perpetrators include caregivers, friends, neighbors, and even family members of the senior. Credit unions can play a critical role in helping to reduce financial abuse and exploitation. Therefore, it’s essential that your personnel are able to identify potential cases and understand what steps to take when fraud is suspected.

The Nov. 21 webinar offers key insights that credit union staff can really use, including

  • The warning signs of elder financial fraud
  • What a fraud victim's profile looks like
  • National resources to help members who have been victimized
  • Ways to ask members about their financial capacity
  • A self-assessment for identity theft—how safe are you?
  • Tips to help you—and your members—protect your good name

While the webinar is free, registration is required. Click here to register and learn more about the Nov. 21 webinar.

If you have any questions, please contact Paula Upchurch, director of REAL Solutions, at (800) 442-5762, ext. 6822 or email pupchurch@cornerstoneleague.coop.

If you’d like a copy of the CFPB guides, please visit www.consumerfinance.gov/managing-someone-elses-money. Paper copies of the guides may be ordered online.