CANTON, N.C. (10/28/13)--Credit unions are at the forefront of the fight again elder fraud. As an example of that dedication, Champion Credit Union hosted an Elder Fraud and Financial Exploitation Conference earlier this month in Canton, N.C.
The conference featured Caroline Farmer from the North Carolina attorney general's office, Postal Inspector Eric Wise who spoke on mail fraud, Mitchell Rathbone and Daniel Blagg with the Haywood County Sheriff's Department, who discussed Project Lifesaver, and Sarah Wenzel with Wenzel and Wenzel Attorneys at Law, who explored powers of attorney and estate planning.
Project Lifesaver is a free program that uses radio-frequency technology to find seniors who stray and return them safely to their families.
Following the speakers was an informational fair featuring representatives from the Alzheimer Association, Haywood County Department of Social Services, the Senior Resource Center, the Postal Inspection Office, the Attorney General's Office, the Haywood County Sheriff's Department, and Champion CU.
In September, National Credit Union Administration Chairman Debbie Matz issued a letter to credit unions strongly encouragomg them to ensure their staff members are trained on the potential signs that might trigger a report of elder abuse or financial exploitation. News Now Sept. 25)
"Elder abuse involves the illegal or improper use of an older adult's funds, property or assets. Older adults can become targets of financial exploitation by family members, caregivers, financial advisors, home repair contractors, and scam artists. If you or your staff know the older adults in your membership, you may be able to spot irregular behavior or account activity," Matz wrote.
She also urged credit unions to review their own policies and procedures "to ensure they are consistent with state law and the interagency guidance regarding reporting requirements when a financial institution suspects elder abuse or financial exploitation."
The letter followed the release of joint federal financial regulatory guidance which clarifies that financial institutions may report suspected elder financial abuse to appropriate authorities.