Suspicion of elder financial abuse should prompt filing of SAR, bureau advises

Suspicion that an older adult is the target or victim of financial exploitation should be reported by financial institutions to local, state or federal authorities – including through use of a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) with federal authorities, the federal consumer financial protection agency said Wednesday.

In a release, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said it had issued an updated advisory that builds on the agency’s earlier recommendations on elder financial abuse. The advisory also reflects recent research on the abuse, the agency said, which contains voluntary best practices to help financial institutions prevent and respond to the abuse.

The agency said its research report (published this year) – based on a study of 180,000 SARs reporting elder financial exploitation – found that the abuse is “widespread and damaging,” resulting in an average loss of $41,800 among adults above the age of 70 who sustained a loss, with 7% of those losing more than $100,000.

“The Bureau’s analysis of SARs found that less than one-third of EFE SARs (28%) state that the filing institution also reported the activity directly to Adult Protective Services, law enforcement or other authorities,” CFPB said. “As of April 2019, 26 states plus the District of Columbia mandate reporting of suspected EFE by financial institutions or specified financial professionals.”

Wednesday’s advisory was released in advance of July 25 webinar on elder financial abuse prevention, sponsored by federal financial institution regulators (including CFPB).

CFPB: Reporting of Suspected Elder Financial Exploitation by Financial Institutions