Elder Abuse Training Presented in Partnership with RI AG Office
Rhode Island law requires all citizens to report suspected abuse, self-neglect or exploitation of an elder (60+). In 2021 the General Assembly passed legislation, signed by the Governor, that provides financial institutions and law enforcement an important tool – the ability to place holds and freeze accounts – to help combat financial exploitation. Employees of financial institutions are required to partake this training.
Rhode Island’s Mickaela Driscoll, Elder Abuse Investigator, and Molly Kapstein Cote, Special Assistant Attorney General, recently examined the law, and associated fraud schemes and scams, with Cooperative Credit Union Association-affiliated credit union professionals. The duo shared alarming statistics, acknowledging that these crimes are drastically under-reported, since victims are often afraid and reluctant to come forward.
Elder financial exploitation includes a person in a position of trust with the elder using deception, intimidation or undue influence to obtain or use the elder’s property, income or assets. Often the person is s family member, court-appointed guardian, or holds a power-of attorney. Financial abuse may also involve other crimes such as theft, fraud, forgery, embezzlement, or money laundering.
Credit union employees are urged to become familiar with these indicators of financial exploitation
Raymond Lynch, Managing Counsel for Wells Fargo Bank, joined the group to outline policies and procedures that financial institutions, including credit unions, in Rhode Island need to have in place to comply with the statute.
The final phase in protecting our elders is reporting suspected instances of financial exploitation to the proper authorities. In Rhode Island, citizens should file reports with
- - Office of Healthy Aging at 401-462-0555 or https://oha.ri.gov/report-elder-abuse;
- - RIAG Elder Abuse Unit at 401-274-4400, prompt 6; or
- - Local law enforcement – senior police advocate
Other states are urged to become familiar with the laws in their state and use the Eldercare Locator, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, to connect with services for older adults and their families. You can also reach them at 1-800-677-1116.
Elder financial exploitation robs victims of their resources, dignity and quality of life—and they may never recover from it. Credit union professionals are uniquely positioned to detect that an elder account holder has been targeted or victimized, and to take action.
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