ABA: National reporting system would help fight senior scams

The U.S. would benefit from a national reporting system that provides financial institutions a centralized location to easily report suspected elder financial exploitation, the American Bankers Association said in a statement for the record submitted to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which held a hearing last week on ways to combat fraud targeting seniors. In its comments, the association said that any reporting system should be accessible to law enforcement, adult protective services and banking supervisors, and that it should give users the ability to access details and request records to investigate cases while ensuring that the privacy and data security of affected seniors is protected.

“Such a system would minimize reporting delays that result from individual state requirements and reporting challenges that national and regional banks often experience when working across multiple state lines. Time is often of the essence to stop or thwart financial exploitation,” ABA said.

The association added that it is important for financial institutions to be protected from liability, so any reporting system developed should include safe harbor protections for sharing customer information with the appropriate authorities regarding suspected elder fraud exploitation. ABA also highlighted the work that the ABA Foundation is doing to protect seniors through its Safe Banking for Seniors program, as well as broader banking industry efforts on behalf of seniors such as advocating for state laws that open communication channels for reporting financial exploitation.