CFPB Recommends Strengthening of Community Networks to Protect against Financial Exploitation
September 9, 2016 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance
Aging services providers and others working with the elderly should collaborate to form community-wide networks that prevent, detect, and respond to financial exploitation of older adults, according to a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Calling financial exploitation of older adults a "severe and widespread" problem, CFPB notes that estimates of monetary loss due to exploitation range from $2.9 billion to $36.5 billion annually and that such exploitation can include everything from fraudulent investment schemes or home repairs to outright theft. As the population ages, the number of vulnerable individuals and the scale of loss are likely to increase correspondingly, CFPB states. Because no single entity is responsible for preventing elder abuse, CFPB recommends the promotion of community-based networks, which have been shown to increase reporting of financial exploitation of older adults, enhance individuals' skills in avoiding becoming victims of abuse, and ultimately save community resources.