Kohl Urges Action on Combatting Elder Financial AbuseTargeted News Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 -- The Senate Special Committee on Aging issued the following news release:
Today, Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Herb Kohl convened a hearing on combatting the growing problem of financial abuse of older Americans.
"Over the years, I've seen our nation take great strides to combat elder financial abuse - from the passage of the Elder Justice Act to the creation of a background check system for nursing home employees," Kohl said. "It's time to build on our efforts to remedy this invisible epidemic and break the cycle of stigma attached to this horrible crime."
According to a recent survey by the Investor Protection Trust (IPT), more than seven million older Americans - one out of every five citizens over the age of 65 - already have been victimized by a financial scam. In addition, a 2011 MetLife study found the annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse is estimated to be at least $2.9 billion dollars, a 12 percent increase from the $2.6 billion estimated in 2008.
According to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report made public at the hearing, elder financial exploitation is a large and growing problem that "calls for a more cohesive and deliberate approach." In addition to recommending the development of a clearly articulated national strategy for addressing the problem, GAO called on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to help "correct banks' misconceptions about the impact of federal privacy laws on their ability to release bank records" to Adult Protective Services and law enforcement agencies investigating suspected cases of elder financial exploitation.