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CFPB Publishes New Guide to Combat Elder Exploitation

Old ladies in swim caps“CFPB issues guide and best practices to help communities create protection partnerships for seniors.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) recent press release, “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Report Finds Hundreds Of Counties Nationwide Fighting Elder Financial Abuse With Community Efforts,” announced that hundreds of counties around the country have developed coordinated community-based efforts to prevent, detect and respond to elder financial exploitation. The report also found that a strong collaboration among community stakeholders—such as financial institutions, adult protective services and law enforcement—can be very effective in protecting seniors from financial exploitation.

The CFPB has recently released a resource guide and best practices to assist communities across the country in creating their own protection partnerships to fight elder financial abuse.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray said the new guide and recommendations can help more community stakeholders build these very helpful networks to pool information, expertise and resources for addressing this growing crisis.

To address the rapidly growing problem of elder financial exploitation, communities across the country are working to bring together local stakeholders and resources to form protection partnerships. These protection partnerships—also called “networks”—can make it easier for different community stakeholders to detect and respond to elder financial abuse through case review, case consultation, community education, professional training and professional advocacy.

The CFPB’s report takes a closer look at how protection partnerships work in several communities and their effectiveness in responding to elder financial abuse. It found that these voluntary community-based partnerships can increase reporting of suspected financial exploitation cases, improve partner skills and ability to combat financial exploitation, and provide consumer and professional education.

The CFPB’s recommendations include creating protection partnerships that involve law enforcement and financial institutions. The agency noted that professionals and volunteers working with or serving older adults should join to form protection partnerships in communities where they don’t currently exist. The participation of financial institutions and law enforcement is critical to improve response to cases.

Another recommendation is serving rural communities and ethnically, racially and linguistically diverse communities. Protection partnerships in diverse areas should engage stakeholders that serve in these populations—like community-based groups and faith-based organizations, which can support the partnerships’ educational activities and provide expert services. The CFPB’s report also said partnerships should expand into rural areas. These locations are largely underserved by community efforts.

Reference: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (August 23, 2016) “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Report Finds Hundreds of Counties Nationwide Fighting Elder Financial Abuse with Community Efforts”

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