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Three ways to prevent elder financial abuse

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06.13.19
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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Additional resources

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.

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About Matt Schriner

Matt Schriner is an accomplished financial services and risk management professional with over three decades of bank regulatory risk knowledge. Matt joined Bremer in 2017 as Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) Officer, a role in which he is responsible for developing, implementing, administering and directing work efforts related to all aspects of Bremer’s Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering compliance programs. After earning his B.A. in Economics from University of Saint Thomas, Matt started his path in financial risk management with RSM McGladrey, a leading audit and consulting firm, where he advanced to a role of Managing Director. He then began sharing regulatory and risk management expertise as Managing Editor with cbanc Network, an online repository of approved regulatory content for financial professionals. Matt has also worked as a consumer affairs examiner with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and as a compliance officer with First Bank System (now U.S. Bank).  Matt is committed to the development of the communities in which Bremer Bank operates, as demonstrated by his membership on the Board of Directors of CommonBond Properties. This organization assists vulnerable populations achieve stability in the home through affordable housing projects. Matt and his spouse reside in the Twin Cities and enjoy traveling to see their three adult children. In his free time, he is an avid golfer and skier.  )

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