Consumer Protection Agency Targets “Silent Crime” of Senior Financial Abuse

The federal government’s new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today announced the launch of an effort toward the protection of older Americans from fraudulent financial practices. Looking closely into the work of those who deem themselves “senior experts,” the agency said it will examine of professionals with special designations that separate them as advisors for seniors. 

Citing $2.9 billion lost to the “silent crime” of financial exploitation of older Americans, CFPB Director Richard Cordray outlined a public inquiry and new efforts the bureau will take toward preventing of elder financial fraud. 

“Our initiative will evaluate how financial advisors obtain certifications that designate them as the best advisors for older Americans,” Cordray said. “We want to know where these designations are coming from and whether or not older Americans and their families can easily find out which designations are legitimate.”

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The effort will work with the Bureau’s Office of Older Americans, led by Skip Humphrey, to find the most common forms of senior financial fraud as well as the types of financial education that are available toward prevention. The outcome will inform future policy decisions, Cordray said. 

“We want to know what is working and what is not, so that we can fix what is not working,” he said. “Older Americans need to be able to take comfort in the fact that their financial advisor is actually looking out for their best interests. Right now, we know that too often the opposite is the case – some of these people call themselves “experts” in senior finances after having received only a few hours of inadequate training.”

Read more about the bureau’s effort on its blog. 

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Written by Elizabeth Ecker