Presentation on theme: "Elder and Dependent Adult Financial Abuse San Bernardino County Department of Aging and Adult Services December 2006."— Presentation transcript:
Elder and Dependent Adult Financial Abuse San Bernardino County Department of Aging and Adult Services December 2006
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Overview Who is an Elder/Dependent Adult? What is financial elder abuse? The role of financial institutions Who are possible abusers? What are the signs of financial abuse? How to spot risk factors for potential financial abuse How to report financial abuse in San Bernardino County The role of Adult Protective Services (APS) Other resources SB 1018: Financial Abuse Reporting Act
Senate Bill 1018: Financial Abuse Reporting Act Requirements of the Law – Telephone report must be made to Adult Protective Services (APS) or law enforcement when an employee suspects financial abuse. – Must be followed up in a written report within two working days. – Develop internal reporting structure. – Develop effective policies and procedures. – Work with APS and other enforcement agencies.
Who is considered an Elder/ Dependent Adult? Elder – Person over the age of 65 Dependent Adult – Person between age 18 and 64 with physical or mental disability that makes it difficult to handle physical or financial tasks or activities of daily living
What is Financial Abuse? Financial elder abuse is generally defined as the improper use of a senior’s funds‚ property or assets. SB 1018 states that “suspected financial abuse” occurs when a bank employee observes behavior or transactions that would lead a person with similar training to form a reasonable belief that an elder is the victim of financial elder abuse.
Extent of the Problem The extent that economic crimes affect the senior community and the actual number of dollars involved are widely unknown due to: – Lack of reporting (embarrassment, shame) – Family dynamic – Lack of action taken (Civil vs. Criminal) – Death
Extent of the Problem, cont. Elder abuse is one of the most under recognized and under reported crimes. National* – Only 1 in 14 cases reported State of California (Attorney General’s Office)* – Only 1 in 5 cases reported * Statistics from 2003 Elder abuse reports are up more than 150% in the last 10 years!
The Role of Financial Institutions Identify those at risk. Implement policies and procedures to protect your customer. Protect your customer from fraud and take necessary action. Respond to all concerns and suspicions regarding financial abuse. Report all suspected instances of financial abuse.
Possible Abusers Elder service provider Professionals who deal with elders Family Neighbors “New” friends Telemarketers Organized transient crime families (“Travelers”) Con artists Anyone! Caretaker
Signs of Financial Abuse Suspicious behavior by the abuser and/or victim Suspicious financial activity Financial exploitation Undue influence
Undue Influence Use of: – Coercion – Extortion – Endearment – Isolation – Fear – Trust – Promises – Persuasion – Force – Intimidation – Abandonment – Ending care relationship
Suspicious Behavior By Abuser – Hostility to visitors – Dominance over or speaking for elder – Isolation of elder – No visible means of support – Exaggerated concern or defensiveness for elder By Elder – Isolation – Confusion; implausible explanations – Hesitation to speak freely – Embarrassment or shame – Denial of abuse – Changes in behavior
Suspicious Financial Activity Changes in Account Status: – Change of owners or account relationships – Change of address – Suspicious/irregular signatures on checks/documents – Other person(s) handling financial affairs – Sudden changes in incurred debt or credit standing – Early surrender/penalties on term accounts/ investments – New requests to transfer assets to different financial institution, broker or wire transfers Unusual Volume or Activity: – Change in patterns of withdrawals/deposits – Frequency of withdrawals
Suspicious Financial Activity, cont. Inconsistent Activity: – Increase in transactions/checks written/inquiries – Activity at different branch locations – Withdrawal(s) from previously inactive accounts – Non-Sufficient funds/overdraft notices – Multiple checks payable to same person/entity – New request for automated services, i.e. ATM card, internet access, telephone access – Request for new lines of credit, increases to existing lines of credit – New vehicle purchases (inconsistent to life style) – Mortgage refinance/home equity loan
Financial Exploitation People who appear “too” interested in their finances Concerned/confused about “missing” funds Unable to remember financial transactions Fearful of eviction or abandonment by caregiver Isolated from family, friends, or other support groups Accompanied by: – A stranger who encourages frequent or large cash withdrawals – Family member or other person who coerces them to make transactions Not allowed to speak for themselves or make decisions Appears nervous/afraid of person accompanying them
Identifying Those at Risk Some risk factors are: – Widowed – Never married – Require caregiver or in home worker – Physical or mental limitations – Extremely trusting and open with others – Easily intimidated, influenced or persuaded – Have limited contact with: Family Friends Church Outside the home
Look for These Signs Communication and Behavior – Confusion (particularly when it’s about something the person should know) – Disorientation – Forgetfulness (or attempt to cover up memory loss) – Slurred or rambling speech, difficulty understanding speech, mumbling Difficulty with: – Daily living activities – Understanding written directions or documents – Solving simple problems – Abrupt changes in communication style or personality
Personal Appearance Look For Changes And/or Extremes: – Unkempt appearance – Emaciated or bloated appearance – Dirty or inappropriate clothing – Unshaven face – Uncombed hair – Unusual or extreme body odors
Failing to File a Report Employees of financial institutions who fail to file a report when it can be proven that the employee should have suspected financial abuse will incur a: – Fine of $1000-$5000 against the Institution – Possible misdemeanor charge punishable with jail time Employees of financial institutions are not subject to: – Individual fines for failure to report
The Written Report (SOC 342) The written report is completed on the SOC 342 - Report of Suspected Dependent Adult/Elder Financial Abuse form. The written report must contain: – Customer’s Name, – Customer’s Address, – Customer’s Phone Number, and – Brief scenario of the observations or transaction(s) that raised suspicion. The SOC 342 form can be obtained from: – The San Bernardino County website (sbcounty.gov) or – Bewiseonline.org
How to File a Report in San Bernardino County Report suspected financial abuse by telephone, immediately, or as soon as possible to the: – County of San Bernardino 24-Hour Toll Free Child Adult Abuse Hotline (CAAHL at (877) 565-2020), or – Local law enforcement agency in the area. Send a completed copy of the SOC 342 report within two working days of the phone call: – Via mail to: CAAHL at 412 West Hospitality Lane San Bernardino CA 92415-0029, or – Via fax to: CAAHL at (909) 388-6718
The Role of Adult Protective Services Adult Protective Services (APS): – Is a state-mandated agency to receive and investigate reports of elder or dependent adult abuse and neglect. – Connects elders or dependent adults with services. – Provides crisis intervention – assesses danger and develops service plan to reduce danger. – Investigations are mandatory; services are voluntary.
Other Resources Elder Financial Protection Network: www.bewiseonline.org www.bewiseonline.org National Center on Elder Abuse: www.elderabusecenter.org www.elderabusecenter.org California Attorney General’s Office (Elder Abuse): www.safestate.org www.safestate.org
San Bernardino County Resources For questions in San Bernardino County contact: Carl Eklund, Deputy Director Department of Aging and Adult Services 686 Mill St. San Bernardino, CA 92415 (909) 891-9048 (760) 843-5118