Seniors Get Extra Protection Against Fraud With New Law
As of August 1, 2018, The Safe Seniors Financial Protection Act (HF 3833) will equip financial professionals to help protect their senior and other at risk clients against financial fraud.
“This law is an opportunity for the Commerce Department to partner with financial professionals to spot and stop fraud before seniors lose their hard-earned life savings,” said Commerce Commissioner Jessica Looman in a press release. “These financial professionals are a first line of defense, and this law will strengthen their ability to defend seniors against financial exploitation.”
Financial fraud against seniors is expected to grow with the aging baby boom generation. It is already estimated that seniors are defrauded out of nearly three billion dollars each year.
Under the new law, broker-dealers and investment advisers are authorized to report suspected financial exploitation against a senior or vulnerable adult client to the Commerce Department at 952-237-7571 or the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center at 1-844-880-1574. They may also disclose information to a trusted third party designated by the senior client.
Also, investigators will be given more time to intervene as withdrawals and transfers can be delayed if fraud is suspected.
The new law closely follows model legislation approved by the member states of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).
The second leading cause of maltreatment towards seniors is financial exploitation only behind caregiver neglect, according to the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center.
Senior financial protection is a top priority for the Commerce Department. Last fall, the department launched a “Hang Up on Fraud” campaign, a statewide education and outreach initiative with a toolkit that older Minnesotans and their families can use to identify and prevent financial fraud. The toolkit is available through the Commerce Department website (mn.gov/commerce).