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June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: CUs can Help
Thursday, June 13, 2013 10:20 AM

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and REAL Solutions and the Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) have teamed up to help spread the word. As part of the REAL Solutions Elder Financial Abuse and Exploitation (EFAE) initiative, TCUL developed informative posters for credit unions to download and post in their lobbies.

The posters, which can be downloaded here, are intended to draw attention to the problem of financial abuse for senior members and provide detailed information on where and how credit union staff may report EFAE.

Unfortunately, financial abuse and exploitation of seniors is a growing problem not only throughout the U.S., but throughout the world. Why? Simply put, seniors tend to have more wealth and are easier targets than the general public. In fact, a September 2012 report from the National Center on Elder Abuse, Bureau of Justice Statistics found that of the 6 million reported cases of elder abuse in 2010, 12.3 percent were for financial exploitation – and that’s just the number of incidents actually reported. Many more go unreported.

“Senior Americans are not likely to report financial fraud, either because they do not know who to report to or they are too ashamed at having been scammed,” said Mike Delker, TCUL senior vice president of Credit Union Relations. “Elder financial abuse and exploitation is a growing concern for credit unions. By educating credit union staff on the signs of financial abuse, it is our hope that we can protect our elder membership from being victims of fraud.”

The Real Solutions EFAE initiative is focused on making awareness and follow-up action steps a top priority. Credit union staff and management must be trained to identify suspected cases of EFAE when they encounter it, and they must know how to act on those cases or risk fines.

REAL Solutions offers a toolkit to credit unions with basic information on how to combat EFAE in their credit unions and protect their employees. To learn more about REAL Solutions and the EFAE tool kit, contact Paula Upchurch, director of REAL Solutions, at pupchurch@tcul.coop.