Financial abuse is one of the most reported types of abuse and is often directed at vulnerable adults. One in 10 Americans aged 60-plus has experienced elder abuse—and one of the most frequent forms of elder abuse is financial.
Elder financial abuse is defined as someone illegally or improperly using an elder’s (aged 60 or older) money or belongings for their own personal use.
Seniors are the victims of financial exploitation every year, and they pay a hefty price. The National Council on Aging estimates seniors lose over $36.5 billion each year as a result of financial exploitation. And it can be more difficult to detect than physical abuse and neglect because it’s often done by family members, trusted friends, and caregivers.
Tennessee is a mandatory reporting state. Any person with knowledge of suspected abuse should report it to Adult Protective Services:
Credit unions should report suspected elder financial exploitation to all appropriate federal, state, and local authorities. This includes the requirement to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) with FinCEN when it meets the criteria for filing a SAR or the information is beneficial to law enforcement. When completing the SAR it should include a detailed explanation of any suspected financial abuse activity. Include the term “elder financial exploitation” and the victim’s information in the narrative portion. Do not report the victim as the subject of the SAR. For more information, visit FinCEN.
Tennessee Credit Union League white paper on Elder Financial Exploitation [PDF file]
Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions (state regulatory agency)
Tennessee Commission on Aging – 2022 Elder Abuse Task Force Report
AARP free BankSafe Elder Financial Exploitation training program for financial institutions
InfoSight compliance overview of Elder and Vulnerable Adult Protections (requires login)