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FTC Testimony and InfoSight Highlight on Elder Financial Exploitation
Friday, February 17, 2017 6:35 AM

In testimony before Congress Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission described the current trends relating to fraud affecting older Americans, and how the FTC uses law enforcement and other tools at its disposal to combat these frauds.

Testifying on behalf of the Commission before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Lois Greisman, associate director of the FTC’s Division of Marketing Practices, said certain types of scams are more likely to affect older Americans, such as fraudulent prize promotion schemes. The Commission’s efforts to identify and stop illegal marketing affecting seniors have become increasingly vital as the population of older Americans is growing rapidly, the testimony states.

“To protect seniors, the Commission has implemented a multi-faceted approach that encompasses robust law enforcement, strategic policy initiatives, and vigorous consumer education and outreach,” the testimony states.

The Commission has identified several varieties of fraudulent and deceptive schemes that affect seniors, including:

  1. Sweepstakes, prize promotions, and lotteries,
  2. Timeshare sales and re-sales,
  3. Health care products and services,
  4. Investments, business opportunities, and work-from-home programs,
  5. Technical support services, and
  6. Charitable donations.

The Commission has filed 45 cases against 163 companies and 121 individuals responsible for billions of illegal robocalls, as well as numerous Do-Not-Call violations, many targeting older Americans, and it has brought 25 cases involving conduct that specifically targeted or disproportionately harmed older adults.

From this week's InfoSight Newsletter
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), signs and symptoms of financial or material exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder; 
  • The inclusion of additional names on an elder's bank signature card; 
  • Unauthorized withdrawal of the elder's funds using the elder's ATM card; 
  • Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents; 
  • Unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions; 
  • Substandard care being provided or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial resources; 
  • Discovery of an elder's signature being forged for financial transactions or for the titles of his/her possessions; 
  • Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming their rights to an elder's affairs and possessions; 
  • Unexplained sudden transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family; 
  • The provision of services that are not necessary; and 
  • An elder's report of financial exploitation.

Need more info on compliance topics on a regular basis? Check out InfoSight, your first stop when searching for compliance answers. InfoSight operates as an online compliance manual at your fingertips, containing federal and state-specific content that is accurate, concise, and detailed on a wide range of topics and issues. Subscribers are able to access easy-to-read compliance summaries, checklists for compliance, direct links to laws and regulations, frequently asked questions, and links to additional important resources, including CUNA's online compliance resource "E-Guide." As part of InfoSight, the League sends out a weekly eNewsletter highlighting regulatory changes, hot topics in compliance, and comment calls. Subscribe here.