BlogsFinancial PlanningFraud PreventionNewsRetirement PlanningWealth Managementpreventing financial exploitation, AARP Banksafe, Collective Wealth Planning, Brenna Baucum

I recently completed the AARP BankSafe Training, an initiative recognized nationally and internationally as a leading resource for the financial industry in preventing financial exploitation. The course provided several client scenarios, quizzes, and resources around handling each. Here are the three main takeaways I thought you should know about:

1. Victims of financial exploitation typically lose about $120,000.

You can put several preventative measures in place to avoid being a part of this terrible statistic. I’m particularly fond of the Protect Your Money resources from FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) to help individuals avoid getting caught up with dubious investment programs or “advisors.”

2. Family members represent 60-90% of financial exploitation perpetrators.

And they often steal twice as much as a stranger might. Common ways family members may gain access to your accounts include: serving as a durable power of attorney or joint account owner, establishing beneficiary status on your investment accounts, and accessing banking information to facilitate withdrawals. You can find some helpful resources to ensure you set up supports correctly using guides from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

3. Scam calls/emails are getting more and more convincing.

Countless scams are happening at any given time, with new ones popping up daily. Signing up for AARP’s Watchdog alerts keeps you updated on the latest popular scams. Not sure if the call or email you received is legitimate? AARP’s Fraud Watch Network has a staffed helpline to answer your questions about preventing financial exploitation.

One of the best parts of having a boutique practice is that I know all of my clients personally. I know their preferences, perspectives, and unique priorities. This allows me to identify red flags quickly. Completing a ‘trusted contact’ form is one of many ways I help my clients proactively plan for and avoid financial exploitation.

One last resource for you to explore, this one a recommendation from a client: the weekly AARP podcast, The Perfect Scam, which tells the stories of people who find themselves the target of a scam. The host introduces listeners to those who have experienced scams firsthand, professional con artists, and leading experts who pull back the curtain on how scammers operate. Their latest episode below is about trending scams this year and tips for preventing financial exploitation.