WASHINGTON — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is adding to its efforts to protect vulnerable groups of consumers with a new study into elder financial abuse.

The agency has launched initiatives aimed at helping members of the military and students, and the Dodd-Frank Act required it to set up special offices to address financial challenges faced by those groups, as well as senior citizens.

"The silent crime of financially exploiting the elderly is widespread and it is devastating," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said at an event marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day at the White House on Thursday. "It is critical for us to act."

To coincide with the event, CFPB published a request for information Thursday seeking comments on how consumers can determine the legitimacy of financial advisor certifications; what sources compile information on fraudulent use of the certifications; what resources are available to seniors to make financial decisions; and a summary of financial literacy programs for seniors. It is also asking for details on the types of unfair, deceptive or abusive practices targeted at seniors, including specific feedback on fraud targeted at older veterans and military retirees.

Americans ages 60 and older have lost more than $2.9 billion to financial exploitation since 2010, the agency said in a press release, citing a recent study.

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