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Minnesota Department of Commerce recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

6/12/2017 1:50:38 PM

Financial firms encouraged to watch for signs of elder fraud and financial exploitation

For Immediate Release:

SAINT PAUL -- In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is reminding financial professionals of the importance of safeguarding Minnesota’s senior population by keeping a watchful eye for signs of elder financial exploitation and promptly reporting possible abuse to appropriate authorities.

Elder financial abuse is on the rise due to the growing senior population, with the aging of the Baby Boom generation, and the wealth they have accumulated throughout their lifetimes. 

“Protecting seniors against financial exploitation is a top priority for the Minnesota Commerce Department and regulators across the country,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, who also currently serves as president of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), representing state financial securities regulators.

The Commerce Department, the state’s consumer protection agency, has stepped up its efforts to protect seniors against financial fraud and scams, working closely with law enforcement, prosecutors, financial professionals, and consumer advocacy and community organizations.

During the week, the Commerce Department will participate in in the 2017 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day conference sponsored by the Minnesota Elder Justice Center to offer resources to a broad range of professionals who work with older and vulnerable adults. 

During the week, the Commerce Department will also hold forums at senior living facilities in Lakeville and Apple Valley to provide information for seniors on how to protect themselves and their money from common scams and fraud. The Financial Planning Association of Minnesota and the Senior LinkAge Line will also participate.

Rothman said it is important for everyone to know the red flags that could signal an elder’s savings may be in danger. He highlighted three warning signs of possible elder financial fraud or exploitation to watch for:

  • Does the elder display unexplained or unusual excitement over a new investment opportunity, financial windfall or prize check – something that sounds too good to be true?
  • Has the elder moved away from existing relationships toward new “friends” or strangers who show excessive interest in his or her finances, who refuse to allow the elder to speak or are reluctant to leave the senior’s side during conversations?
  • Does the elder show an unusual degree of fear, anxiety, submissiveness or deference toward the person accompanying him or her?

The Commerce Department encourages Minnesotans to visit the Department’s website for information for both family member or caregivers and financial professionals to help prevent financial fraud and NASAA’s Serve Our Seniors website, which provides senior-focused resources to investors, caregivers, industry and policymakers. 

Commerce is here to help

To report suspected maltreatment (including financial exploitation) of a vulnerable adult, contact the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center at 844-880-1574, available 24 hours.

If you have a question or concern about a possible scam or fraud, contact the Minnesota Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at consumer.protection@state.mn.us or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).

Media Contact:
Ross Corson
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce
P: 651-539-1463 | C: 651-368-5050 | ross.corson@state.mn.us

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