AARP launches training for CUs to prevent elder financial abuse

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AARP has launched an online training platform to help bank and credit union workers detect and prevent financial exploitation of older Americans.

The Washington D.C.-based interest group said on Wednesday that the platform, called BankSafe, will be offered free of charge to financial institutions. The Credit Union National Association and Independent Community Bankers of America have partnered with AARP to distribute the platform and to encourage their members to participate.

The platform has already been tested in a pilot program that involved more than 2,000 employees from banks, credit unions, trade associations, adult protective service agencies, law enforcement agencies and the legal field.

AARP said during a webinar coinciding with the launch of BankSafe that each year financial institutions in the U.S. lose more than $1 billion in deposits through the exploitation of people at least 50 years old. The group noted that this group controls more than two-thirds of U.S. retail deposits.

AARP defines financial exploitation as including acts of consumer fraud, scams and theft, among others, and is the fastest growing form of older adult abuse. AARP noted that one in five people above the age of 50 are victims of financial exploitation, costing them about $3 billion annually.

A survey taken by AARP in 2016 revealed that 85% of people over the age of 50 want workers at their financial institutions to be well trained in order to detect and prevent exploitation.

“The BankSafe training platform is the result of true collaboration between the financial industry and AARP,” Jilenne Gunther, AARP’s BankSafe national director, said in a statement. “Together, we aim to create a nationwide network of highly trained professionals committed to helping older adults protect their life savings.”

Jim Nussle, CUNA’s president and CEO, stated that his organization is “proud to continue its leadership in the fight against financial exploitation through our relationship with AARP” and that he hopes credit unions across the country “take advantage of this fresh, powerful new tool.”

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Fraud losses Fraud detection Elder fraud Fraud prevention Jim Nussle AARP CUNA ICBA Washington DC