Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau requests public comment on senior financial exploitation

The fairly new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) Office of Older Americans (headed up by Skip Humphrey) has put out a request for public comment about financial exploitation of older Americans age 62+.

WHEN: Comments in response to the inquiry will be accepted through August 20, 2012.

WHERE: There are 2 ways to submit your comments.
1) Electronically through this link on regulations.gov

2) Via Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier send to:

Monica Jackson, Office of the Executive Secretary
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
1700 G Street NW.
Washington, DC 20552

WHAT: The inquiry is quite broad, you can read the whole request on the Federal Register's website at this link According to this blogpost from Skip Humphrey, "The CFPB wants to hear from the public – especially people working directly with seniors – about these issues. In particular, we want input on how seniors can best determine the legitimacy of the credentials of financial planners and advisors. We’re also seeking information on what financial education, counseling or management programs are tailored to the unique needs of older Americans, their families, and their caregivers. We want to know what programs exist and and how effective they are."

The purpose of the inquiry is to help inform the Office for Older Americans in its work for prevention of financial exploitation. "As my Office conducts its research on certifications and designations of senior financial advisors, the information we hope to gather here will give us a better picture of what is happening in the marketplace. With that information we can let seniors know where to look for fair and sound advice from reliable resources. Then they can make their own informed choices," Humphrey explains.

The request include some guiding questions under the following topics:

  • Evaluation of Senior Financial Advisor Certifications and Designations
  • Providing Financial Advice and Planning Information to Seniors
  • Senior Certification and Designation Information Sources
  • Financial Literacy Efforts
  • Financial Exploitation of Older Americans
  • Financial Exploitation of Older Veterans of the Armed Forces

The following question appears under the "Financial Exploitation of Older Americans" category, and I suspect many older West Virginians and people who work with them have information to offer in response:
-What types of fraudulent, unfair, abusive or deceptive practices target Americans age 62 and over? Comments could include unique types of financial exploitation or additional information concerning the examples listed below.

a. Power of Attorney or Guardian Abuse, whereby an agent under power of attorney or a court-appointed guardian uses his/her fiduciary authority (or a forged power of attorney instrument) to misappropriate the older person's assets and uses them for personal gain rather than for the support of the incapacitated older person;

b. Affinity fraud, in which the characteristics of a trusted advisor such as a member of the clergy or government official are impersonated by those attempting to extract payments or personal information from an older person.

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