Protect Members from Elder Abuse 

All credit unions want to protect their members. One potentially vulnerable population segment is older members. Born out of Dodd-Frank, the CFPB created the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans.

This office is tasked with “functions of which shall include activities designed to facilitate the financial literacy of individuals who have attained the age of 62 years or more (in this subsection, referred to as ‘‘seniors’’) on protection from unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices and on current and future financial choices, including through the dissemination of materials to seniors on such topics."

Coinciding with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, the CFPB and the FDIC announced the Money Smart for Older Adults program. There are seven sections:

The module can be downloaded here. Or the hard copies can be found here.

The Better Business Bureau and Western Union also launched a BBB Scam Stopper website to help consumers reduce their chances of becoming a victim of a scam.  The website explains the science of scams and how scammers get their victim’s trust, along with information on the most common scams.  From this site you can also sign up for weekly emails with the latest scams reported to BBBs.

As an example, MCUL & Affiliates has heard from credit unions in Michigan and other states about what the BBB Scam Stopper refers to as “Emergency Scams.” There are two variations outlined on the website regarding this scam. One version is where a perpetrator poses as a grandchild with an emergency asking for immediate help, which requires the wiring of funds. Another is a relationship scam, where the perpetrator makes a connection or love interest with the victim through an online channel such as Facebook. Suddenly the love interest needs money wired for some sort of emergency.

Talk to members and ask questions if you see them conducting wire transfers, especially if they are out of the ordinary compared to their account history.  As another helpful tool, Western Union offers these three basic money transfer “never evers”:

  1. Never use a money transfer service to send money to someone you have not met in person.
  2. Never send money for an emergency situation without verifying that it’s a real emergency; ignore the caller’s plea not to tell others; confirm through other friends and family.
  3. Never send funds received by check until it officially clears in your account, which can take several days, or more.

According to the CFPB, for each elder abuse case that is reported, 43 others go unrecognized. Credit union employees are in a unique position to deter, prevent and report abuse. Do not let your members be victims. 

Need help or have questions? Contact the Compliance Consultants of MCUL & Affiliates to see how we can assist you at or the Helpline at (800) 262-6285, ext. 494.

Submissions to Monitor may be emailed. Bryan Laviolette is the editor of Monitor. Contact him by email or call (800) 262-6285, ext. 233. The newsletter of the Michigan Credit Union League is published Monday mornings or Tuesday mornings when Monday is a holiday. There is no Monitor the week after Christmas and the week after the Annual Convention and Exposition. The MCUL reserves the right to edit submissions for clarity and space.
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