Salem – Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and the Oregon Division of
Financial Regulation is reminding people to help senior citizens be on guard
for financial exploitation.
Increased isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed
seniors to increased risk of financial scams.
“Social isolation is one of the leading factors for financial exploitation
of older investors,” said Lou Savage, acting administrator for the division.
“The extended quarantine to protect against the spread of the coronavirus has
left many Oregon seniors vulnerable to financial fraud.”
Financial abuse can happen any time, but perpetrators often use times of seclusion
to strike, such as during a health crisis or after the death of a loved one.
They will often gather personal information from obituaries and social media
to target their victims. Many schemes involve using fake information to build
trust with seniors and get more involved in their lives.
Senior financial exploitation is difficult to identify. Here are five
examples to watch for:
- A new and overly protective friend or caregiver, especially if the senior
is considering surrendering financial control to the person.
- Fear of or sudden change in feelings about somebody.
- A lack of knowledge about financial status or reluctance to discuss financial
- Sudden or unexplained changes in spending habits, a will, trust, or beneficiary
- Unexplained checks made out to cash, unexplained loans, or unexplained
disappearance of assets (cash, valuables, securities, etc.). Also, watch
for suspicious signatures on the senior’s checks or other documents.
If you believe a senior you know or love is a target, remember three
- Contact – Stay in touch with older family members, friends,
and neighbors. Call or leave a note on their front door. It is essential
for them to know you are thinking of them.
- Act – Contact the division’s advocacy team one of three
ways to report scams and potential senior financial exploitation:
Finally, financial services professionals are mandatory reporters for suspected
elder financial abuse in Oregon. Agents, advisors, broker-dealers, and representatives
a Senior $afe presentation to learn how to spot and report suspected elder
fraud. They can also file
a suspected financial abuse report on the division’s website.
About DCBS: The Department of Consumer and Business Services
is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For
more information, visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov.
About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is
part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest
business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov and http://dfr.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx.