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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB studies elder financial abuse reported in SARs

Federal Issues CFPB Elder Financial Exploitation SARs FinCEN Financial Crimes

Federal Issues

On February 27, the CFPB’s Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans released Suspicious Activity Reports on Elder Financial Exploitation: Issues and Trends, which discusses key facts and trends revealed after the Bureau analyzed 180,000 elder exploitation Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed with Financial Crimes Enforcement Network from 2013 to 2017. Key highlights from the report include:

  • SARs filings on elder financial abuse quadrupled from 2013 to 2017, with 63,500 SARs reporting the abuse in 2017.
  • Nearly 80 percent of the SAR filings involved a financial loss to an elder or to the filing institution. The average amount of loss to an elder was $34,200, while the average amount of loss to a filer was $16,700.
  • Financial losses were greater when the elder knew the suspect, with an average loss of $50,000 when the elder knew the suspect compared to $17,000 with a stranger.
  • More than half of the SARs involved a money transfer.
  • Less than one-third of elder abuse SARs acknowledge that the financial institution reported the activity to a local, state, or federal authority.
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