Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Turns its Attention to Elder Financial Abuse

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a new focus area: elder financial abuse. The CFPB issued a Request for Information on the subject recently, hoping to learn more about the many ways in which older Americans are financially exploited and about the best practices for elder financial management.

“Older Americans have lost billions of dollars to the silent crime of financial exploitation,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Our older adult population is growing every year, which makes it even more critical that we study this issue.”

According to a recent industry study, Americans ages 60 and up lost at least $2.9 billion to financial exploitation in 2010. From 2008 to 2010, the study showed a 12-percent increase in the amount of money scammed from seniors. Research has found that women are more likely to be victimized than men and that senior financial exploitation is most frequently perpetrated by family members and other persons in a position of trust.

To help inform the bureau’s future decisions on this topic, the CFPB seeks comment from the public on a number of senior finance issues:

  • How people can determine the legitimacy and authenticity of the credentials held by financial planners and advisors;
  • What effective resources are available to help seniors make informed decisions about their financial advisors;
  • What sources compile publicly available information on fraudulent or misleading uses of these “senior certifications” and designations;
  • What financial education, counseling, or management programs are tailored to the unique needs of older Americans, their families, and their caregivers and how effective they are;
  • The types of unfair, deceptive or abusive practices targeted at Americans age 62 and over (including power of attorney abuse, affinity fraud and other forms of financial exploitation); and
  • What specific types of fraudulent, unfair, abusive or deceptive practices target older Americans, older veterans and military retirees.

Comments on the Request for Information must be submitted by Aug. 13, 2012.


Questions? Contact the Compliance Hotline: 1.800.546.4465,

Posted in Compliance News.