The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is marking June 15’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day with the addition of new educational resources which are designed to combat harmful practices aimed at older Americans. This is according to a statement released by the Bureau on Tuesday.
“We are pleased to announce the release of an update to the Money Smart for Older Adults (MSOA) program,” the Bureau said in its announcement. “The Office for Older Americans collaborates with financial institutions, law enforcement, Adult Protective Services, legal aid organizations, senior service providers, and other community stakeholders to prevent financial exploitation of older adults.”
One of the major updates to the MSOA program has revolved around an increase in so-called “romance scams,” where a scammer targets a senior under the false pretext of being a potential romantic partner in order to try and swindle the senior out of money or other gifts.
Other potential scams that the MSOA material focuses on includes common types of elder financial exploitation such as general identity theft; medical identity theft; scams that target homeowners; and scams that specifically target veterans. The material also contains advice for seniors related to planning for unexpected life events, as well as some tips for how an older American can be financially prepared for disasters, natural or otherwise.
The resource guide can be made available as a stand-alone handout for older adults, or others in the community that may find such information helpful. Free bulk copies can be ordered directly from the CFPB website, and an instructor guide corresponding slides are also available directly from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was originally launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The purpose of WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect,” according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).
WEAAD also works in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue, NCEA explains.
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.
Visit the CFPB for information on ordering the resource guide, or downloading it in PDF form.