TAMPA, Fla. -- The staggering increase in investment scams targeted at the elderly has prompted MEMBERS Trust Company to ramp up its efforts to help credit unions spot red flags.
According to a July 2006 survey from the North American Securities Administrators Association, while individuals aged 60 or older make up 15% of the United States' population, they account for 30% of fraud cases.
MEMBERS Trust said it encourages its trust officers to discuss the benefits of a living trust, said Tom Walker, president/CEO of the trust firm. The document is created so that the living owner has the ability to name a person as trustee.
At its annual users' conference in February, the company put together a presentation for officers to bring them up to speed on identifying suspicious activity, said Tim Kenczewicz, president of MEMBERS Trust, Western Division. A training program is prepping for roll out that will include brochures, posters and Power Point presentations.
Kenczewicz applauded California's Financial Abuse Reporting Act, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2007 and requires credit unions and banks, like health care professionals and social workers, to report elder abuse to law enforcement.
A May 2006 NASD Investor Education Foundation Investor Fraud survey of 165 elderly investment and lottery fraud victims found that each had lost at least $1,000 and some lost more than $1 million.