HELENA, MT – In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) today, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Matt Rosendale reminds financial professionals of the importance of safeguarding Montana’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 amount of wealth seniors have accumulated throughout their careers and the increasing number of retirees throughout Montana.
“Seniors are often targeted for financial fraud and exploitation because they may be isolated from family, caregivers, and other support networks. It’s important to know the red flags that could signal someone’s savings may be in danger,” Rosendale said.
Rosendale highlighted three warning signs of possible elder financial fraud or exploitation to watch for:
- Has the elder moved away from existing relationships and toward new associations with other “friends” or strangers who show excessive interest in his or her finances or accounts, 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?
- Does the elder display unexplained or unusual excitement over an investment opportunity, financial windfall or prize check?
Rosendale also highlighted the work of the 2017 Montana Legislature to protect vulnerable Montanans from exploitation. House Bill 24, sponsored by Representative Ron Ehli (R-Hamilton), was signed into law earlier this year. It allows investment advisers and other qualified individuals to report suspected exploitation of vulnerable persons to the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, and allows financial transactions involving vulnerable persons to be temporarily delayed if exploitation is suspected.
“This new law will be a powerful tool in the fight to protect Montanans from fraud and exploitation,” Rosendale said. “It allows Montanans to look out for each other and prevent bad actors from taking advantage of our most vulnerable citizens.”
“Financial services professionals are uniquely positioned to serve as a front line of defense to spot potential elder financial fraud and exploitation and alert authorities,” Rosendale continued.
To report suspected elder financial fraud or exploitation, contact the Commissioner’s office at (800) 332-6148 or at http://csimt.gov/your-investments/report-fraud/