All of us at Bremer – from the front lines of our bank branches to our back-room operations teams – make it a priority to prevent financial crimes against any of our customers.
When it comes to elder financial abuse, we take additional steps to ensure our customers’ safety and well-being. This includes training bankers and other team members to identify transactions, behaviors and scams consistent with elder financial abuse. We ask questions when we are concerned, and we notify law enforcement when we identify potentially fraudulent or criminal activity.
You can help stop elderly financial abuse
Friends and family members of vulnerable people can be instrumental in stopping the fraudsters. If you have elderly relatives or friends – or any potentially vulnerable person in your circle – be aware of these general steps to identify and prevent financial abuse:
- Watch for unusual activity. Monitor account statements and get an idea of the everyday or usual banking behavior of the individual. Then watch for danger signs, such as out-of-context transactions or changes to their banking patterns.
- Be leery of what seems too good to be true. Romance, lottery and phony IRS scams are widespread, and they occur through all of our communities. If you have any hint that your loved one is falling victim to a scam, educate them on the realities and prevalence of these scams.
- Keep private information private. Remind your elderly or vulnerable friends and family to protect their private information. Phone fraudsters are particularly adept at eliciting information over the phone while sounding legitimate. Email fraudsters are improving their phishing tactics. Remind your loved ones to never provide account information, usernames, passwords, PINs or other similar information over the phone.
What to do if you suspect financial abuse
If you think your parent or grandparent is a victim of financial exploitation, report it right away:
- For Bremer accounts, contact Customer Support at 800-908-2265.
- For other accounts, contact the affected bank or financial institution.
If a situation is serious, threatening or dangerous, you should call 911 or the local police for immediate help.
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) is a valuable source of information and training around elder financial abuse. You can locate their resources at https://ncea.acl.gov/.
The American Bankers Association offers free Safe Banking for Seniors training materials, downloadable from https://www.aba.com/Engagement/Pages/safe-banking-for-seniors.aspx. This content is great for senior community groups and homeowner associations, nonprofit associations and more.