The largest reverse mortgage lender by volume and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) have expanded their partnership in an effort to combat senior-focused fraud nationwide.
Through the partnership, launched last year by American Advisors Group (AAG) and the BBB, the organizations have created the “Savvy Seniors Program,” a senior-focused fraud prevention program that will host sessions across Southern California and Arizona.
Savvy Seniors will craft courses geared toward coaching active seniors on ways they can better recognize targeted fraud. Some of the scams targeting seniors that will be touched on by the courses include impersonations of a grandchild, Medicare officials, legal representatives and email scams aiming for seniors’ wallets. Lessons will also include financial spending tips and information on other programs aimed at empowering seniors against these threats to their financial well-being.
AAG and the BBB first partnered for efforts aimed against senior fraud late last fall, and the fruits of that partnership have directly led them to expand on it through the Savvy Seniors Program.
“Both sides were eager to continue the program and grow it even larger,” an AAG spokesperson told RMD in an email. “This year we expanded Savvy Seniors into Arizona, as part of our goal to educate as many seniors as possible on the dangers of targeted financial scams.”
The collaboration between AAG and BBB is a complementary one, with each organization leading different aspects of the program in order to maximize its intended effects.
“It takes a dedicated effort from both organizations to make this program successful,” the AAG spokesperson said. “The BBB leads the training sessions, while AAG provides the resources necessary to reach as many seniors as possible.”
While the initial partnership focused its efforts primarily in the state of California, the expansion into Arizona both AAG and BBB have set their sights on broadening their reach.
“Unfortunately, seniors are frequently the target of unscrupulous business practices,” said BBB Pacific Southwest VP & Chief Operating Officer Michael Sedio in a press release announcing the expansion. “By partnering with AAG on the Savvy Seniors Program, we can help ensure that our local seniors are able to recognize these scams and provide tips on how to avoid becoming a victim, as well as what to do if victimized by a fraud.”
On top of these efforts spearheaded by AAG and BBB, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently warned Americans that the agency had received “quadrupled” reports of elder financial abuse.
For more information on the program’s events, visit its website. Those who may know a victim or potential victim of elder financial abuse are encouraged to report the incident to a local office of Adult Protective Services (APS), which can be found through the organization’s website. Scams or fraud should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using that agency’s complaint form.