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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB releases report on elder financial exploitation

Federal Issues Elder Financial Exploitation CFPB Consumer Finance

Federal Issues

On September 28, the CFPB published a report examining recovery from elder financial exploitation (EFE). In the report, the Bureau presents a framework for financial recovery derived from insights gathered through interviews with older adults, caregivers, and professionals, as well as existing research and literature across a range of disciplines. The EFE financial recovery framework consists of a series of hypotheses regarding the key factors that could make recovery more or less likely at four stages: (i) identification that EFE has occurred; (ii) reporting of suspected EFE to authorities; (iii) investigation of suspected EFE; and (iv) return of funds to the victim. According to the report, these stages represent a logical sequence of steps that are often necessary, if not individually sufficient, for achieving financial recovery. The Bureau also found that there are “eight cross-cutting factors that can be influential throughout the four stages of the recovery process, and thus may play an important role in more cases.” The factors include, among other things, a prior relationship between the perpetrator and victim, cognitive decline, physical health factors, social support networks, and the method and number of transactions. The report also noted important implications for policy, research, and practice regarding EFE as a result of the study, such as increasing public awareness of successful prosecutions and enforcement actions resulting in financial recovery.