Office of Children and Family Services

 

NEWS
For Immediate Release: 10/14/2015

Contact: Steve Flamisch

Email: steve.flamisch@ocfs.ny.gov

Phone: 518-402-3130

Governor Cuomo Announces Training Forums on Preventing Elder Financial Abuse

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Department of Financial Services and New York State Office of Children and Family Services have partnered to offer financial institutions and professionals training sessions on effectively recognizing, preventing, and reporting elder financial abuse -- the illegal or improper use of an elderly adult’s funds, property, or resources by another individual.

“These professionals are in a critically important position to spot red flags and stop elder financial exploitation,” said Governor Cuomo. “This training will help employees at banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions identify potential warning signs and promptly report suspected abuse.”‎

Training will be offered at the following locations:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 20 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Public Safety Training Facility, 2914 County Rd. 48, Canandaigua
  • Thursday, Oct. 29 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – NYS Department of Financial Services, One State Street, New York, NY
  • Thursday, Nov. 5 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Siena College, Lonnstrum Dining Hall, 515 Loudon Rd, Loudonville

At each session, representatives from the state will be available to meet with bank and credit union managers, compliance officers, anti-money laundering/Bank Secrecy Act officers, and general counsels and discuss how institutions and professionals can work effectively to prevent financial abuse.

Topics covered at the training will include:

  • Recognizing red flags of elder financial exploitation among customers
  • How Adult Protective Services and other community resources can help prevent elder abuse
  • The importance of reporting suspected elder abuse to Adult Protective Services, law enforcement, and the Department of Financial Services
  • Protections under federal and state law that allow financial professional to report suspected abuse to authorities

These trainings are the latest piece of Governor Cuomo's ongoing effort to protect elderly New Yorkers from financial exploitation. Earlier this year, the Department of Financial Services issued regulatory guidance to financial institutions for identifying and stopping elder financial abuse as well as sent surveys to a number of banks and credit unions to gather information on the policies those institutions have in place to protect consumers from elder financial exploitation. Additionally, the Department has adopted a number of other regulations for life insurance policies and annuity contracts over the past several years which also help prevent elder financial abuse.

Anthony J. Albanese, Acting Superintendent of Financial Services, said, “Unfortunately, older New Yorkers are all-too-often a target for financial fraud and abuse. We are continuing to take a variety of actions on multiple fronts, working closely with financial institutions in New York to identify and investigate elder financial exploitation.”

OCFS Acting Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, “As the number of elderly New Yorkers continues to grow, so too do opportunities for unscrupulous and predatory acts against them. Educating the public and other key stakeholders is key to early detection of potential exploitation. We are pleased to offer these training sessions to help front-line employees in the financial industry recognize the warning signs and stop the transaction before it’s too late.”

Recent studies have found that elder financial exploitation is the most common form of abuse facing the elderly, causing significant financial losses and suffering for elderly individuals and their families. A 2011 MetLife study estimated that financial exploitation costs seniors living in the United States at least $2.9 billion every year. Additionally, a 2010 survey by the Investor Protection Trust estimated that one in five Americans over age 65 has been victimized by financial fraud, a startling statistic underlying the pervasiveness and urgency of the problem.

If you suspect that an elderly person may be a victim of financial exploitation, you should contact the authorities, including Adult Protective Services. Adult Protective Services units are administered by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, and are located in every county in the state. They are authorized to investigate suspected financial exploitation of vulnerable adults and intervene as appropriate.

To see a list of Adult Protective Services units that are in all counties in the state of New York, please visit http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/localdss.asp.

To report suspected elder financial exploitation, individuals and financial institutions should contact their local APS unit or call the statewide hotline at 1-844-697-3505.

To RSVP for a training session, financial institutions should contact 212-480-2306 or email Elder.Protection@dfs.ny.gov. Please include names and titles of the individuals attending and indicate which training they will attend.

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