The Georgia Department of Human Services has been awarded a $10,000 AARP BankSafe Initiative Grant to help fight the loss of retirement savings among its aging population. One in five older adults fall victim to financial exploitation, each losing an average of $120,000, as reported by AARP. Nationwide, seniors lose $3 billion to financial abuse each year, most of which is ill-gotten gain by family members or caregivers. What the grant will do is empower financial institutions to protect consumers from financial exploitation and keep retirement savings safe. The grant will provide online training to frontline bank employees such as bank tellers, credit union associates and their supervisors, teaching them how to recognize common signs of financial exploitation and empowering them to take action. The Division of Aging Services will administer the grant, partnering with Atlanta Capital Group and Sun Trust Bank to develop the online model. Both institutions have multiple branches statewide and have agreed to train their frontline staff, according to Abby Cox, director of the Department of Human Services’ Division of Aging Services. The timetable is to have the online training up and running in a year, then making it mandatory for frontline employees at financial institutions across Georgia.
Areas of financial abuse or exploitation include: misuse of financial resources for another’s gain; missing money or valuables; credit card charges the individual did not make; unusual activity in bank accounts and/or depleted bank accounts. Other areas include: legal documents signed by a person who does not understand what he or she is signing; unpaid bills when someone is supposed to be paying them for the person; an eviction notice arriving when the person thought he or she owned the house; and checks/documents signed when the person cannot write or signatures on checks that don’t resemble the person’s signature.
Financial exploitation is a felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If you suspect something, report it confidentially to Adult Protective Services by calling 1-866-552-4464 or go online to: aging.georgia.gov/report-elder-abuse. From: http://www.ajc.com/lifestyles/georgia-gets-grant-help-fight-financial-abuse-the-elderly/vjl4Yfh3B1VK834vJZYZFK
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