DCCU Routing # 251483311

Helping to Prevent Elder Financial Abuse

Leading happy lives free from abuse and exploitation should be expected as we age, but for some, this isn’t the case. Elder abuse, which is the mistreatment of older adults, is an unfortunate reality that many older adults face every day. Many types of abuse exist, including neglect or isolation, physical abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, and financial exploitation. June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and DuPont Community Credit Union (DCCU) is committed to battling this serious social issue, especially where financial exploitation is concerned.

Elder financial exploitation is the improper use of an older person’s funds, property, or assets; and it’s estimated to cost older Americans billions of dollars each year. At DCCU, our Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) team works tirelessly to identify, address, and combat many types of fraud, including the financial exploitation of the elderly. BSA Specialists constantly monitor member records for unusual changes in accounts or money management to identify potential cases of elder financial abuse. Once a possible case has been determined, the appropriate internal or external partner is notified. DCCU acts diligently to protect the accounts and identities of our members, and even offers vital resources, when needed, to protect them from further elder financial abuse.

Elder financial exploitation comes in many different forms, and can often start small. It sometimes begins with family members requesting small amounts of money here and there or a caretaker paying unusual attention to the finances of those they are caring for. It doesn’t always affect wealthy individuals, but also happens to individuals with modest incomes. No matter their resources, elder financial exploitation is unacceptable, and DCCU is working to help prevent it.

Elder abuse often begins when an elderly person is isolated from their friends, families, and/or community. Here are some potential red flags to look out for.

  • Unusual activity in an older person’s bank account, including large, frequent, or unexplained withdrawals
  • ATM withdrawals by an older person who has never used a debit or ATM card
  • Urgent changes in a will or other financial documents
  • Changing from a basic account to one that offers more complicated services the member does not fully understand or need
  • Uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money
  • Sudden and unexplained transfers of funds or assets to a family member

Visit the Justice Department’s website for a more comprehensive list of warning signs of elder abuse.

You can help prevent elder abuse by educating yourself on the warning signs and being an advocate. If you have an older person in your life, stand up for them and ensure they aren’t being abused or exploited. Below are a few additional tips for protecting the elderly in your life from financial exploitation:

  • Stay in touch with older loved ones, and help them avoid isolation
  • Get to know your loved one’s caregivers or any unfamiliar individual taking an unusual interest in your loved one’s finances
  • Help your loved one inventory their valuable belongings to better avoid theft
  • Secure all incoming and outgoing mail so that it is not accessible by the wrong people
  • Shred or destroy all unneeded documents containing identifying information of your loved one
  • Help your loved one stay educated on common scam and fraud tactics

If you are an older person looking to protect yourself against abuse, safeguard your finances by talking with someone you trust or an advisor at your financial institution. Trust your instincts and be sure to speak up when something feels wrong or off.

DCCU is firmly committed to helping prevent elder financial exploitation. To learn more about elder abuse, visit the National Center on Elder Abuse or the Greater Augusta Coalition Against Adult Abuse.