Would more information sharing prevent elder abuse?

Maybe it’s because I hit one of those depressing milestones the other day when the young lady whom I was buying tickets from at the Museum of Natural History coyly asked if there was anyone I was buying tickets for who was 60 or older? Considering that my twin brother wasn’t on line and my daughters were the only ones with me, I can only assume she was talking about me even though I don’t look a day over 49 ½.

But as this article underscores issues surrounding the elderly and financial mismanagement are  getting more and more attention. A suggestion by a researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia is to authorize and encourage the sharing of information among financial institutions about potential financial exploitation  in much the same way they have been encouraged to share information about potential money laundering and terrorist activity since passage of the Patriot Act in 2001. I want to be absolutely clear here. Currently sharing such information among financial institutions is illegal. This is a suggested policy which would require amendments to federal law in order to take effect. Would this be worth the risks?

The first question we have to answer is what exactly we are seeking to prevent? If our goal is to prevent  criminal financial exploitation then the existing framework may well be good enough.  State laws either mandate reporting by  or protect financial institutions that  choose to report suspected abuse.  And federal law keeps getting more and more robust more and more robust. Financial institutions can   file Suspicious Activity Reports specifically dealing with elder financial exploitation and  S.2155 included provisions that will soon start shielding institutions from lawsuits when they report suspected exploitation provided they comply certain training requirements.

 

 

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