State Securities Regulators, Physicians and Adult Protective Services Workers Launch Innovative Campaign to Curb Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 15, 2010) – In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), in partnership with physicians and adult protective services organizations, is launching a new initiative to increase awareness among doctors and medical professionals of an under-recognized and underreported form of elder abuse: financial fraud.

More than 7.3 million older Americans – one out of every five citizens over the age of 65 – already have been victimized by a financial swindle, according to a new Investor Protection Trust (IPT) survey conducted by Infogroup/ORC.

“Elder financial abuse is becoming the crime of the 21st century,” said NASAA President and Texas Securities Commissioner Denise Voigt Crawford. “The success of a Texas pilot program to train medical professionals to identify and report the signs of elder financial abuse to the Texas State Securities Board encouraged NASAA to form partnerships to expand this education and awareness campaign nationwide.”

State securities regulators are joining forces with IPT and the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA), in cooperation with the American Academy of Family Physicians, the National Area Health Education Center Organization and the National Association of Geriatric Education Centers, to educate medical professionals and other caregivers about how to identify seniors who may be vulnerable to financial abuse. Professionals who provide front-line elder care will learn how to refer at-risk seniors to the appropriate authorities, whether it is to report investment fraud to securities regulators, suspected abuse to adult protective services workers or symptoms of mild cognitive impairment to physicians.

“Investment fraud against seniors too often goes unreported, but by teaming up with clinicians and adult protective services workers to give voice to the silent victims, state securities regulators will have more information to investigate and prosecute those who financially exploit our nation’s seniors,” Crawford said.

NAPSA has been NASAA’s partner in the fight against elder financial abuse since 2009. NASAA and its partners have produced two new resources:

  • Clinician’s Pocket Guide. A quick reference tool for medical practitioners outlining the red flags of investment fraud, tips for discussing financial capacity with senior patients and resources for reporting suspected abuse.
  • Patient Brochure. An investor education resource for senior patients and their families highlighting ways to protect themselves from elder financial fraud and where to get help.

NASAA is the oldest international organization devoted to investor protection. Its membership consists of the securities administrators in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico.