Congress has recently passed the Senior Safety Act to better protect senior citizens from elder abuse and exploitation. The new law allows financial service providers such as banks and brokerage firms to disclose financial information to law enforcement if they believe it may be a result of elder abuse. The law gives financial institutions immunity from being sued to allow them to stop financial exploitation of elderly clients.
The Senior Safety Act allows employees of financial institutions to report suspicious activity dealing with elder abuse to appropriate government agencies and law enforcement without facing the possibility of being sued in court. This makes the process of stopping abuse and finding the people who perpetrate it more efficient.
The law states that all employees of financial institutions must receive training on the different types of elder abuse and how to identify them. The businesses are given the choice of training the employees themselves or hiring a third party to instruct them on when it is appropriate to disclose information.
This law is a big step forward in the fight against financial elder abuse. And although it is the most common form of elder abuse, only a small fraction of financial abuse cases are actually reported. This is because many people either don’t want to admit that they were taken advantage of, or they don’t want to get their abuser in trouble. The abuser can be anyone including a friend, family member, caregiver, or a total stranger. For this reason, it is important to watch for signs of elder abuse and know how to report it.
Elders may fall victim to financial abuse due to isolation, physical disability, decline in cognitive thinking, and many other reasons. Some signs of financial abuse include unusual banking transactions, a sudden difficulty with getting in touch with the person, “new friends” that take up most of the elder’s time, they don’t want to talk about finances, or don’t know their current financial status.
If you observe any of these signs of abuse or exploitation, contact the victim’s bank along with law enforcement agencies. For the further pursuit of civil elder abuse and exploitation, contact the experienced attorneys at Martinson & Beason, PC today.