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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day recognizes need to protect seniors from financial fraud

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 financial matters.
  • Sudden or unexplained changes in spending habits, a will, trust, or beneficiary designation.
  • 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 abuse.

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.

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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 .



Media questions

Brad Hilliard
503-798-6376
brad.hilliard@oregon.gov

Mark Peterson
503-947-7868
mark.peterson@oregon.gov​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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