MORRIS COUNTY — New Jersey banks are partnering with senior-focused community groups throughout the state to educate older Americans on how to bank more securely. Bankers are sharing information on how to: choose the right financial caregiver, detect financial abuse, and avoid scams targeting older adults as part of this campaign.
Established by the American Bankers Association Foundation, Safe Banking for Seniors is an educational outreach program that provides bankers with tools and turn-key resources to educate their customers on how to protect themselves from financial exploitation as they age.
“NJBankers President and CEO John E. McWeeney, Jr. noted that “New Jersey’s banking community is committed to protecting senior citizens because they should be able to live free of abuse. Bankers are trained to look for signs of financial abuse and take this very seriously. Bankers also reach out directly to the elderly in the communities they serve with guidance for recognizing if their finances are being compromised.”
As a champion of the Safe Banking for Seniors program the New Jersey Bankers Association highlights the following red flags of elder financial exploitation:
- Unusual activity in an older person’s bank accounts, including large, frequent or unexplained withdrawals
- Changing from a basic account to one that offers more complicated services the customer does not fully understand or need
- Withdrawals from bank accounts or transfers between accounts the customer cannot explain
- A new “best friend” accompanying an older person to the bank
- Sudden non-sufficient fund activity or unpaid bills
- Closing CDs or accounts without regard to penalties
- Uncharacteristic attempts to wire large sums of money
- Suspicious signatures on checks or outright forgery
- Confusion, fear or lack of awareness on the part of an older customer
- Checks written as “loans” or “gifts”
- Bank statements that no longer go to the customer’s home
- New powers of attorney the older person does not understand
- A caretaker, relative, or friend who suddenly begins conducting financial transactions on behalf of the an older person without proper documentation
- Altered will and trusts
Organizations, coalitions, ministries, senior centers and the like can request a free banker presentation on Safe Banking for Seniors using the ABA Foundation FinEdLink portal. Click here to connect with a bank in your community and join the national effort to empower seniors in protecting their finances.
The ABA Foundation provides financial education initiatives and resources to help bankers further strengthen their communities. The Foundation’s signature initiatives, Safe Banking for Seniors, Get Smart About Credit, Lights, Camera, Save! and Teach Children to Save, bring bankers and individuals of all ages together to improve financial knowledge.
To view the list of participating banks in New Jersey click here.