Protecting the Vulnerable from Fraud

The vulnerable must always be protected, but even more so during a pandemic when increased fraud leads to a greater risk for abuse. The elderly – because of their high concentration of wealth compared to the general population and situations that make them vulnerable to manipulation – is uniquely situated to become a target for fraud. As a result, regulators are taking action against wrongdoers by identifying and punishing pandemic-related crimes targeting the elderly. For example, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has suspended trading in companies involved in pump-and-dump schemes to prevent trading stock on misleading information.

Recent federal and state measures have instituted policies that require identification and reporting of fraud against the elderly. For example, federal law requires securities dealers and investment advisers to file Suspicious Activity Reports if they suspect fraudulent activity involving a client either as a victim or a perpetrator. Many states have adopted the North American Securities Administrators Association’s Model Act that requires employees of investment advisers and broker-dealers to notify both the state’s adult protective services department and the state’s securities regulator if they reasonably believe that an elderly or disabled person is being exploited. Read More:

If you suspect you or someone you know is being manipulated by fraudulent financial advice, consider these red flags of elder abuse as identified by the U.S. Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

• Frequent, large withdrawals or the closing of banking or investment accounts
• Sudden changes in the elderly individual’s financial management, such as a change of power of attorney, signature card or will to a new individual
• The elder customer’s lack of knowledge about their financial status or reluctance to discuss financial matters
• Discovery of forged financial documents

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