Financial abuse of the elderly is an epidemic sweeping the country, with a record 24,454 suspected cases recorded in 2018 by U.S. banks, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The number of cases has more than doubled over the past five years, and grew by 12 percent since 2017, according to data from the U.S. Treasury Department.
According to the Weinberg Center for Elder Justice, some $2.9 billion dollars is taken from older adults every year. The occurrence of elder abuse among older men is also on the rise.
“Anything having to do with elder financial abuse or exploitation affects a huge part of our customer base,” Rob Rowe, associate chief counsel at the American Bankers Association, told the Journal.
Congress last year passed a bipartisan banking reform package that enlists financial institutions as allies in the fight against financial abuse of older adults by allowing professionals to report suspicious activity to law enforcement without fear of being sued, and some states, per the Journal, allow a more aggressive approach.
In Texas and Tennessee, bank employees can refuse or delay transactions when elderly customers request suspicious money transfers.
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