“Financial exploitation and fraud of our elderly population is the illegal use of their resources for your own profit or benefit,” says Executive Vice President of The County Federal Credit Union, Ryan Ellsworth.
To prevent this from happening, a new program was created called Senior Safe. Senior Safe is will help workers at financial institutions identify irregular financial activity. This program is a first of it’s kind in the country.
“There’s an aging population in Aroostook County, there’s an aging population in Maine. So certainly the resources and the programs like Senior Safe are necessary,” says Ellsworth.
Financial institutions will take part in training to learn the red flags of elder financial abuse, and learn how to intervene in order to deter the exploitation. One red flag would be large sums of money withdrawn from an account.
“Exploitation typically happens from either a family member or a caregiver, and fraud typically happens from a stranger, someone the senior or elderly person does not know,” says Ellsworth.
These people may pose to be an investment advisor or a telemarketer, and may talk them into wiring money, or other fraudulent investments.
“Unfortunately the elderly population is typically a very trusting population. A very hopeful population. They are hoping that the opportunity they are being presented with for financial gain, is legitimate,” says Ellsworth.
Ellsworth says this program is very important to Maine’s elderly population because they live on a fixed income, and cannot afford to lose money that they need for medication, food, heating, and other necessities. He also would like to add that if you think you have been abused financially, contact your financial institution and law enforcement. It’s never too late to get help.