New Analysis from FinCEN Notes Uptick in Elder Financial Exploitation

The number of Suspicious Activity Reports related to elder financial exploitation has risen dramatically over the past several years, as seniors face increasing threats from both domestic and foreign actors, according to an analysis released last night by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The survey examined SARs filed between October 2013 and August 2019 that related to elder fraud.

Depository institutions filed between 3,000 and 4,000 SARs related to elder abuse each month in 2019, compared with 1,000 to 2,000 a month in 2013 and 2014. Suspicious activities reported in the SARs amounted to more than $5 billion in 2019 alone and $21.8 billion over the entire survey period, FinCEN found.

Of the different types of suspicious activity, scams and thefts—most often perpetrated by family members or other individuals with a relationship to the victim—were the two most common types of exploitation seniors face. The analysis found that these incidents can be financial devastating for older Americans: the median reported loss from scam-related SARs was $6,105; for theft, the median loss was $15,964.

With elder financial exploitation on the rise, the American Bankers Association Foundation recently released its second Older Americans Benchmarking Report, which provides information about the strategies banks are employing to prevent elder fraud and educate older customers and their financial caregivers. The Foundation also offers resources through its Safe Banking for Seniors program.