WASHINGTON The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a training guide Wednesday to help banks, law enforcement and advocates of senior citizens deliver tips to older adults on preventing financial exploitation.
The new tool, "Money Smart for Older Adults," is one of several financial literacy guides the FDIC has produced for different demographics since 2001.
With a guided script for instructors and power point slides, the new module includes seven segments: common types of elderly financial exploitation, scams specifically targeting veterans, general identity theft, identify theft pertaining to healthcare, scams targeting homeowners, planning for unexpected life events and becoming financially prepared for disasters. The curriculum can be downloaded, or ordered in hard copy form, both free of charge.
"Given the demographic trends of a large segment of our population entering into retirement age in an increasingly complicated financial world, we hope this curriculum will help older adults avoid financial abuse," FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said in a conference call announcing the program along with CFPB Director Richard Cordray.
Cordray, noting that he helps provide care for his 95-year-old father, said the training program can also be useful for the "caretaker generation" that is looking after an aging parent. He cited a study saying that older Americans lost at least $2.9 billion in 2010 due to financial exploitation, and that an estimated 43 cases go unrecognized for each that is reported.
"With 50 million older people in this country and 10,000 more reaching retirement age every day, we cannot afford to tolerate financial predators or practices that victimize our elder citizens," Cordray said. "Many seniors have routines and their predictable patterns make them easier targets for predators, including family members and others in a position of trust. They can be lonely or overly trusting and we now have many methods by which perfect strangers can communicate with them, often anonymously or posing as someone they're not."
The FDIC started the Money Smart series originally as a financial literacy tool for low- and moderate-income adults. Other guides were later added for young adults as well as one for small businesses.