Senior Investors Must Protect Themselves from Financial Abuse
One of the harsh realities of aging is that we are no longer as mentally sharp as we once were. We tend to forget things, lose track of time, or become worried about things we shouldn't worry about. Or maybe it's your parent or relative that is now a senior citizen and no longer has the mental focus or energy to effectively monitor and protect their wealth and investment accounts. One way or another, we will all face this dilemma eventually. It's best to be as prepared as possible.
The Federal Government's Trusted Contact Program
The federal government is trying to help US seniors better protect their assets. This year has seen the historic passage of a number of new rules and regulations aimed at protecting senior investors from elder financial abuse. Most notably, perhaps, is what's called the "trusted contact" rule. The rule stipulates that broker-dealers must now collect information from clients concerning a most trusted contact, who can be reached in cases of suspicious account activity or investment fraud.
Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank Wants to Help With Senior Fraud
In a recent pronouncement, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has also suggested that anyone - but especially Philly seniors - provide their bankers with trusted contact information. The thought is that, if bankers know who to call when they may be concerned about elder financial abuse, they will be more likely to intervene than if they had to, for example, confront the individual themselves. By having access to close kin or friends of their clients, they can avoid awkward conversations with clients and potentially nip fraud and exploitation in the bud.
How Does the Trusted Contact Program Work?
For new accounts with banks and broker-dealers, everyone will automatically now be asked for trusted contact information. If however you already have a bank or investment account, you are encouraged to call your banker or financial advisor and ask them if you can fill out a form to create a trusted contact. You can do this for yourself, your elderly parent or relative, or even a neighbor.
When Will a Bank or Brokerage Contact My Trusted Contact?
Brokers and bankers will first try to contact you multiple times before escalating to a trusted contact unless they suspect you may be suffering from diminished physical or mental capacity, or if they suspect possible financial exploitation. In such cases, the bank or brokerage can place a temporary hold on your account while an investigation into the anomaly is launched.
A Safeguard for Wealthy Senior Investors
The trusted contact program is one of several possible options investors can use to safeguard their hard-earned life savings. The worst thing we can do as we age - or as our parents age - is put our heads in the sand and simply assume that our money is safe. But if we take the necessary steps early to prevent elder financial abuse and fraud, we have a much better change of protecting our wealth and assets.
Pennsylvania & New Jersey Elder Financial Abuse Law Firm
If you or someone you know has been the victim of financial abuse or investment fraud, please contact our attorneys immediately for a free consultation toll-free at 215 462 3330 or by using our online contact form.