In the “Rules and Regulations” series, we’re hoping to inform members of the regulatory reporting that we’re required to follow in order to comply with banking regulations. This article, we’re addressing elder financial abuse.
What is elder abuse?
When we talk about elder abuse as it relates to the credit union, we are referring to the financial abuse of an elder (any person residing in California who is 65 years of age or older) or dependent adult (anyone between the ages of 18 and 64 who has physical or mental limitations that restrict their ability to carry out normal activities or to protect their rights). Financial abuse is generally the taking of real or personal property for wrongful use, or assisting in doing so.
Unfortunately, the perpetrators most often include family members, specifically spouses, children or grandchildren. Other perpetrators may include individuals who seek out vulnerable seniors with the intent of exploiting them.
How does SF Fire Credit Union identify possible elder abuse?
A few of the things we look for include:
- Statements made by the apparent victim or suspect
- Changes to banking patterns or practices; unusual activity, such as large withdrawals or large wires
- Abrupt changes to legal or financial documents, such as power of attorney or trust instruments
- Sudden confusion by the apparent victim regarding their personal financial matters
- Establishment of unnecessary credit for the apparent victim for themselves or another person
What is the credit union required to report?
We are required to report suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult to the Adult Protective Services agency (APS) or law enforcement in the county where the apparent victim lives within two working days. Financial institutions that fail to comply with this timeline are subject to civil penalties of up to $5,000.
How can members report suspected elder abuse?
If you suspect that you or someone you know are a victim of elder abuse, we encourage you to contact us at the credit union, or reach out to your local authorities.
If you have questions about elder abuse, please contact Chris Van Sickle, our Compliance Officer at [email protected], or by mail at our California Street address.