FinCEN advisory addresses elder financial exploitation’s growing threat

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network today issued an advisory alerting financial institutions to the growing trend of elder financial exploitation, which involves the illegal or improper use of an older adult’s funds, property or assets and is often happens through theft or scams. The advisory highlights behavioral and financial red flags to aid banks with identifying, preventing and reporting suspected abuse. The release also coincides with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15.

Financial institutions filed 72,000 suspicious activity reports in 2021 related to elder exploitation, an increase of 10,000 reports from 2020. The CFPB’s estimate of the value of suspicious transactions linked to elder financial exploitation increased from $2.6 billion in 2019 to $3.4 billion in 2020, the largest annual increase since 2013.

Following Bank Secrecy Act risk-based compliance, the advisory recommends that banks perform additional due diligence where appropriate and remain alert to suspicious activity that could indicate that customers are financial exploitation perpetrators, facilitators or victims.

The American Bankers Association Foundation offers resources to help older Americans and their caregivers guard against financial fraud through its Safe Banking for Seniors Program.