June 15, 2021
Salem — Financial abuse can happen to anyone at any time, but perpetrators
often target seniors. Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and the Oregon
Division of Financial Regulation asks everyone to be on the lookout for the
financial exploitation of seniors.
Scammers use several tactics to gain trust from seniors in order to steal
their finances. Unfortunately, some of these offenders are the guardians who
are responsible for acting in the person’s best interest. Guardians are often
a person the senior trusts and is granted control of the person’s assets. Financial
abuse or exploitation often occurs when the guardian improperly uses the financial
resources of a senior.
“Legal guardians are important resources for many older people, and it is
vital for guardians to always act in the best interest of the person in their
charge,” said TK Keen, Division of Financial Regulation administrator. “Learning
to recognize the signs of elder financial abuse and how to report it enables
all of us to protect Oregon seniors.”
Senior financial exploitation can be difficult to identify. Here are six
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 someone or a sudden change in feelings about them.
- A lack of knowledge about financial status or reluctance to discuss
- Sudden or unexplained changes in spending habits, a will, trust, or
- Unexplained checks made out to cash, unexplained loans, or unexplained
disappearance of assets (cash, valuables, securities, etc.).
- Suspicious signatures on the senior’s checks or other documents.
Call 855-503-SAFE (7233) (toll-free) if you believe an Oregon senior is being
financially exploited. You can also visit the division’s protect yourself from fraud website for resources to prevent, report, and recover from financial
The division is working with the North American Securities Administrators
Association to share resources that will help people identify and report financial
abuse. Visit serveourseniors.org for red flags to identify possible elder abuse
by a guardian.
Finally, the division and several federal and state partners are providing
comprehensive training to the Oregon Chapter of the National Association of
Insurance and Financial Advisors about the Senior Safe Act.
Oregon’s Senior Safe Act makes securities industry professionals mandatory
reporters for suspected elder financial exploitation. Securities professionals,
such as broker-dealers and investment advisors, should use the division’s file a suspected financial abuse report webpage when they suspect potential financial
abuse of an Oregon senior.
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 .