ICBA Provides Tips for Preventing Elder Financial Abuse

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 13, 2014) - June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA), the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation® (SHCPF) and the nationís more than 6,500 community banks are providing tips for preventing the disturbing trend of elder financial abuse.

“Community bankers nationwide serve a vital role in protecting members of our communities, including the elderly who are all too often targets of financial abuse,” said ICBA Chairman John H. Buhrmaster, president and CEO of 1st National Bank of Scotia, N.Y. “It’s important for all Americans to be aware of this very real issue and learn about ways to help prevent elder financial abuse from happening to themselves or their loved ones. If you have questions or concerns about the safety and security of your finances, you should speak to your local community banker right away.”

ICBA and SHCPF offer the following suggestions on ways to prevent elder financial abuse:

  • Secure all of your valuables in a bank safety deposit box. These valuables can include your Social Security card, passports, credit card account numbers, will and other legal documents, financial statements and medical records.
  • Do not give financial information to callers that contact you and claim to be from established organizations such as your bank or credit card companies, especially if they ask you to wire funds or send them private information. If you are concerned about your bank account, contact your local community bank directly.
  • Check your bank accounts and bill statements carefully. You can check them online so you can zoom in easily in case you need to make the statement larger for easier reading. If you notice unauthorized charges, alert your bank immediately.
  • Do not give your personal information, such as bank account numbers or PINs, to anyone in a phone call, letter, email, fax or in a text message.
  • Have enough money set aside to support yourself and your immediate family for at least six months in case of an emergency. Your local community banker can help create a financial roadmap for you and your family.

“Elder financial abuse is a rapidly growing problem in our country, so we produced the Preventing Elder Financial Abuse Video Toolkit because we are dedicated to providing educational resources to help our nation’s seniors and their family members on ways to protect themselves against financial exploitation,” said Peter Gwaltney, chairman, president and CEO of the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation. “We are encouraging every banker to spread the word on ways to prevent elder financial abuse and exploitation to every senior citizen and their families.”

For more information about the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation, visit www.SHCPFoundation.org. To order the Preventing Elder Financial Abuse Video Toolkit, visit SHCPF’s website. To learn more about community banks and services they offer, visit www.icba.org.

About ICBA

The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for more than 6,500 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit www.icba.org.

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