Preventing Elder Fraud and Financial Exploitation

Financial loss from elderly fraud is in the billions annually.

Seniors are the fastest-growing population segment in Ohio and the Scripps Gerontology Center projects more than 1 in 4 Ohioans will be age 60 and older by 2025. Unfortunately, that growth has contributed to high rates of fraud and financial exploitation targeting the elderly in our state.

The national rate of elder financial abuse is also high, with 1 in 20 cases of seniors falling victim to the crime, according to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA). In 2019, the Department of Justice announced the largest crackdown on elder fraud in U.S. history, although it is still a widely under-reported crime. Only 1 in 44 cases ever come to light, according to NAPSA.

Financial loss from elderly fraud is in the billions, with the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reporting that $3 billion to $37 billion is stolen annually. Between 2013 and 2017, those over age 70 lost an average of $41,800 to financial exploitation. Losses climb even higher when the perpetrator is a friend or relative, though. Seniors scammed by strangers lost an average of $17,000, while those ripped off from someone they knew lost an average of $50,200.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office provides a quick reference guide for older adults on elder fraud and exploitation, which includes warning signs, common scams, how to avoid and report elder fraud and exploitation, and services and resources.

Senior citizens and their trusted advocates can also find assistance right in their community to avoid fraud and financial exploitation. Credit unions exist to improve their members’ lives and offer guidance and resources to help members better protect and manage their finances. Most Ohioans are eligible to join and enjoy the benefits. Find a credit union near you at yourmoneyfurther.com.

Tips to Protect Senior Citizens from Financial Exploitation

With 1 in 20 senior citizens in the U.S. reportedly being scammed out of their money, elder financial exploitation is something we should all be concerned about. It is important for older adults to have a trusted advocate in their later years. Whether you have witnessed this firsthand with loved ones, or you simply want to protect them before it’s too late, read these tips from AARP and CNBC to keep the seniors in your life safe.

  • Think ahead. Talk to your loved ones about their wishes for the future and help them plan for it by designating power of attorney and healthcare directives. Consider giving someone else authority in financial matters if their physical or mental health is declining.
  • Stay connected. Keep in regular contact with your loved ones through frequent calls, texts, emails and visits.
  • Build trust with sensitive financial matters. Extreme privacy when handling money issues is common for senior citizens, but it also sets them up for vulnerability in that area. If no one else has eyes on their financials, they could be getting scammed for months without catching it. Become the trusted financial advocate your loved one needs.
  • Set up separate accounts. If your loved one is willing, set up several separate accounts so that they aren’t completely wiped out should they fall victim to a scam.
  • Set up direct deposit. Have checks deposited directly into their account so others don’t have the opportunity to cash them.
  • Track financial activity. Look into financial tracking tools like EverSafe, which will track financial activity and make the user aware of any suspicious withdrawals or spending.
  • Know before you sign. Never sign any documents that you don’t understand.
  • Recognize the red flags. Unfortunately, most cases of elder financial abuse are committed by someone the victim knows. Be aware of the sudden reappearance of any friend or family member who has been largely absent in your loved one’s life or multiple requests to change account ownership.
  • Trust your gut. If something feels off or things are not adding up with your loved one’s finances, follow your intuition and get help.
  • Report any wrongdoing. If you’re convinced someone is scamming your loved one out of their money, contact your financial institution or Adult Protection Services immediately and file a report with your local police department.

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Investment Representative

The primary purpose of this position is to assist Midwest Community Federal Credit Union by delivering outstanding service to both internal and external members. A key element of excellent service is to identify the financial needs of each member and recommend an appropriate credit union solution. In addition, receives members in person and by telephone. Helps Member Investors reach financial goals utilizing our consultative sales process. In addition, responsible for ensuring that outstanding service is delivered to both internal and external members. A key component of this service is to provide proactive guidance on investment solutions via a needs-based consultative selling approach to both current and prospective Members who have placed an inbound call or referral to the Investment Representative.

For more details, please contact lfrysinger@midcomm.org.

Midwest Community Federal Credit Union is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Member Service Representative

Midwest Community Federal Credit Union is looking for a Member Service Representative to process transactions, accurately perform end of day balancing procedures, follow company policies and utilize the core data processing system and various software applications, including electronic banking services. We are seeking candidates who are punctual, honest, friendly, and have outstanding communication skills. Please see the job description for a full list of duties. Resumes may be submitted to Sondra Manon at smanon@midcomm.org.

Midwest Community Federal Credit Union is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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