The government is really trying to help seniors from elder law scams.

Elder law abuse and senior scams are something that seniors need to be aware of. The government tries to do its best to and assist seniors to avoid these scams, including with new rules to protect seniors with brokerage accounts from financial scams that could drain their accounts before anyone notices.

The FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) securities help line for seniors has received more than 12,000 calls since its 2015 inception, and recovered more than $5.3 million for seniors whose investment funds were illegally or inappropriately distributed.   

FINRA has issued two new rules, which became effective in February 2008, to help investment brokers or advisors better to protect seniors’ accounts from financial exploitation when opening a brokerage account or updating information for an existing account. First, the broker/investment advisor must ask the investor for the name of a trusted contact person who can be contacted if there are any questions about the account. The trusted contact is a resource with whom the broker can address possible financial exploitation, and to obtain the customer’s current contact information or health status, or learn about any legal guardian, executor, trustee, or holder of a power of attorney. The second rule applies to accounts belonging to investors age 65 and older or investors with mental or physical impairments that the broker reasonably believes may make it difficult for the investor to protect his or her own financial interest. It allows a broker to place a temporary hold on disbursements from an account if those disbursements seem suspicious. Before disbursing the funds, the brokerage firm will be able to investigate the disbursement by reaching out to the investor, the trusted contact, or law enforcement. Prior to the new rules, issues of privacy prevented a broker from contacting family members when suspicious activity was detected, and under previous FINRA rules brokerage firms risked liability for halting suspicious transactions.  

Although it is impossible to completely eliminate scams against the elderly and financial exploitation, these are just a few things that the government has done to try to assist. Ultimately, we all need to keep our eyes and ears open for our aging loved ones to ensure that they are not taken advantage of.  

Jeffrey Bellomo
D: 05/18/2018 02:27:59 P

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