Average Victim of Family Scams Loses $120K: AARP

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Picture this scenario at the bank: A woman walks in with her 25-year-old grandson and they’re ready to transfer $4,000 or so out of Grandma’s account into his. Is the grandson running a scam? Can the bank do anything to stop it? Maybe, yes, on both counts, reports the Detroit Free Press. “People are literally being robbed every day through scams or financial exploitation from members of their own family,” said Debra Whitman of the AARP. The average victim can lose $120,000 to financial exploitation. Repeated, out-of-the-ordinary cash withdrawals are a big clue to exploitation and scams. AARP has launched a new online training module for bank and credit union employees who deal with customers on the front lines as a way to prevent financial exploitation. The AARP BankSafe training is available at no cost to the financial institution.

Elder financial abuse is being dubbed the “crime of the 21st century” as family members and outsiders target the retirement savings that seniors have built up. Instances of elder financial abuse can increase during Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah. Some people may be more than ready to take Grandma to lunch and, oh, make a stop at the bank. It may start with withdrawing a few hundred dollars from a bank account and then build to repeated requests for money. Such exploitation may include misusing a power of attorney, denying an elderly person access to his or her own money and withdrawing money out of a senior’s bank account. A Georgia bank reported a case involving a grandson who was cashing a string of checks from his grandfather’s account. The grandson had a story relating to his own surgery; but police arrested the grandson for exploiting the grandfather and taking his money to buy drugs.

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