At the beginning of this month, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation entitled The Elder Abuse Prevention and Protection Act of 2017, which was introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn). There will now be an increase in training available for federal investigators as well as prosecutors to assist in their oversight of elder abuses cases. Penalties will also be put in place for criminals, including mandatory forfeiture. More coverage of the bill passage can be found here.
JPMorgan CFSI Lab Fintech Interview
Q & A WITH HOWARD TISCHLER, EVERSAFE CO-FOUNDER
The Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab) at the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), with founding lab partner JPMorgan Chase, interviewed EverSafe co-founder Howard Tischler in a recent article on their website. Howard talked about what inspired him to create EverSafe and his optimism in light of recent initiatives focused on vulnerable seniors from regulators like the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and state securities administrators.
Financial Abuse Protection
DANGERS OF GUARDIANSHIP AND FAMILY FEUDS
Across the globe, data shows that much of the financial abuse older adults suffer is carried out by a loved one or friend. A recent New York Times piece reported on Government Accountability Office research which found that guardianship proceedings across the United States are rife with exploitation victimizing older, vulnerable adults. State courts will typically appoint guardians or conservators to support those who are most vulnerable, but all too often the judicial system is used to commit financial abuse against the alleged incapacitated person requiring protection. A recent Forbes article points out that non-abusing caregivers often end up paying, on average, $36,000 to help their loved one recover from abuse. How can one avoid the pitfalls of guardianship and potential family feuds? Setting up a monitoring protocol that involves more than one trustworthy relative and/or professional is one way to start.
SOCIAL SECURITY CHECKS
Are you a Social Security beneficiary or do you know of one? You should be aware of the latest scheme where criminals pretend to work with the Social Security Administration and then offer a purported increase to Social Security checks based on cost-of-living calculations. CBS reported in an article last month that these phony agents will ask the unsuspecting beneficiary to “validate” private information including their social security number, birth date and parents’ names which are then used to change direct deposit information and steal funds from the beneficiary. If you or the beneficiary is unsure about whether a scam is taking place, call the Social Security Administration directly at their headquarters at 1-800-772-1213. Report suspicious calls to the Office of Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271.
Last month, the Washington Post reported on a California scam targeting homeowners who were having trouble paying their mortgage. Criminals posed as new lenders offering a mortgage modification and then directing that homeowners send a “reinstatement” fee in cash and monthly trail payments thereafter. Beginning in 2011, these scammers took $11 million from thousands of unsuspecting homeowners. They were convicted and then sentenced to prison time last month, but the victims are still dealing with the emotional and financial impact of the fraud.
Stopping Junk Mail…
HELPFUL STRATEGIES TO PROTECT YOUR FINANCES
Are your/your loved ones’/your clients’ physical and digital mailboxes full of unwanted solicitations and junk? A recent article in The Spectrum outlines a list of helpful strategies to stop this type of mail:
This comprehensive and informative visualization from comparitech contains interesting data on current elder financial abuse statistics in the US. The article outlines helpful tips on protecting at-risk older adults from scams, identity theft and financial fraud. Below is a preview of the full infographic:
EverSafe can help you implement the “Trusted Contact” rule!
Our exclusive Trusted Advocate feature makes it easy.
We’ll take care of obtaining Trusted Contacts’ name(s) and
contact information for you, ensuring they are notified. We can add fraud
monitoring, with alerts to “Trusted Contacts,” if requested.
Please email TrustedContact@EverSafe.com
if you are interested or have questions.
EVERSAFE SELECTED FROM 300 APPLICANTS
EverSafe continues to receive accolades and acknowledgements in the media regarding their selection as a fintech innovator for the Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab) at the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) with founding lab partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. An article in The DC Inno Beat showcased EverSafe as one of the eight startups selected for the program. American Banker shared the exciting news, as did the Baltimore Business Journal and the EconoTimes, Finextra, and Banking Technology.
Federal Communications Commission Considers Updating Regulations
Last month, Financial Advisor IQ ran an article discussing a regulation adjustment being considered by the FCC. If approved, the change proposed by marketing company All About the Message, LLC, would permit companies to leave messages in a consumer’s voicemail inbox without ringing the recipient’s phone. EverSafe’s Liz Loewy is quoted in the piece expressing concern about the change saying, “…the telephone can be a dangerous weapon—especially with vulnerable seniors.” She suggests that professionals help their older clients who may be vulnerable by having them placed on do-not call lists and considering auto-call blockers like Nomorobo.
EverSafe was pleased to support Mary Furlong and Associates in their production of the 14th Annual Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit and Business Plan Competition on July 20th at the Claremont Club & Spa. The event attracts leaders in the fields of aging and health and brings together forward-thinking entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to share information about innovative products for the global longevity marketplace. CNBC covered this successful event in a recent article.
Protection Against Financial Fraudsters
PRIORITIZING SECURITY IN RETIREMENT
A recent piece published by The Hill explains the importance of protecting one’s nest egg from exploiters and references an important study by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). The article underscores the magnitude of the elder fraud epidemic and the importance of addressing the role that advisers can play in detecting exploitation.
Debit Card Dangers
MONITOR FOR UNAUTHORIZED TRANSATIONS
The convenience of using a debit card, compared to using cash or checks, means that many consumers are using their card at multiple locations a day to withdraw funds or make purchases. According to FICO, there has been a significant increase in the percentage of debit cards that have been compromised. Between 2015 and 2016 there was a 25% rise in the number of businesses reporting debit card compromises. A Washington Post article highlights the potential dangers of using a debit card too frequently and offers several ways to protect your assets from criminals:
Use ATMs that are connected to the debit card’s financial institution
Avoid ATMs that look strange or have pieces that can be removed—crooks can place “skimming” machines on ATMs that will steal your card information
Finally, it’s crucial that consumers diligently monitor debit cards, credit cards and financial accounts. EverSafe‘s comprehensive monitoring platform goes beyond the typical fraud alerts issued by banks. The service tracks customers’ and their loved ones’ accounts for erratic activity—and permits them to designate a trusted family member or professional to receive alerts. This exclusive feature provides peace of mind to financial caregivers and anyone using a debit card in today’s world.
PHONY UTILITY BILLS
Since many consumers receive bills for their use of power, heat and water, it’s easy for scammers to use this avenue to trick their targets. Don’t be fooled! One example of this scam is a call from a purported utility company that threatens to turn off power or water because a payment has been missed. The fraudster demands an immediate wire or credit card payment. Alternatively, a scammer may claim that they can help you save money on a utility bill by saying a grant is available or that assistance can be given if a large amount of what is owed is paid up front. Education is crucial in preventing scams targeting seniors and other family members—keep yourself and them informed.
Are you a Broker-Dealer or a registered representative of a broker/dealer firm? Then you’re probably aware that FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) amended Rule 4512 and implemented FINRA Rule 2165, effective February 5, 2018.
This means that broker-dealers, upon the opening of an account, will be required to take steps to maintain a record of contact information for a “Trusted Contact” person who may be contacted regarding issues related to those accounts. Pursuant to the new rule, the broker-dealer will be required to inform the client that information may be disclosed to the Trusted Contact person regarding possible financial exploitation related to the account(s), and to confirm specific information related to the client’s current contact information, health status, and/or the identity of any guardian/conservator, executor, trustee, or power of attorney.
EverSafe can assist in implementing this new rule. Our “Trusted Contact” form is available at no cost, and we can notify the contact person about their designation and provide comprehensive fraud monitoring so that they receive alerts to erratic activity on clients’ accounts. Please contact TrustedContact@EverSafe.com for more information.
EverSafe is a Winner in Financial Solutions Lab Competition
JPMORGAN CHASE AND CENTER FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES INNOVATION
The Financial Solutions Lab (FinLab) at the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) with founding lab partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. recently selected EverSafe for its next class of fintech innovators. More than 300 companies applied for the Financial Solutions Lab competition and EverSafe was one of eight companies selected to receive $250,000 and join the Financial Solutions Lab, which provides mentoring and resources for scaling businesses. The start-ups “represent the most promising group of early stage financial technology innovators that are improving Americans’ financial health,” according to CFSI. Business Insider highlighted the winning companies in an article this month.
The announcement comes shortly after EverSafe was awarded a Consumers’ Choice award at AARP’s Innovation@50+ LivePitch in Mountain View, California. The event brought together ten finalists in the financial technology start-up space, chosen from hundreds of submissions, to compete in front of investors, AARP members and a distinguished panel of judges. The Consumers’ Choice winner was chosen by an audience of over 500 attendees who voted on their favorite product.
Reuters Cites EverSafe as Elder Fraud Prevention Tool
Columnist Mark Miller focuses on the issue of fraud affecting older victims in a recent article for Reuters. The piece provides an outline of what regulators and aging professionals are doing to prevent older investors from being scammed. EverSafe is referenced as a tool that guards against financial fraud targeting seniors using software that monitors accounts for irregular activity.
Financial Institution Shares
Educational Video on Elder Fraud Prevention
Fidelity Investments has emerged as a leader in their campaign to alert consumers to the signs of elder financial abuse. A recent video focusing on how to detect fraud provides pragmatic tips for seniors and their trusted caregivers. One of their recommendations is to monitor loved ones’ finances by using services like EverSafe, which serves as an “extra set of eyes” in keeping financial accounts secure.
Don’t be fooled by a scam in which you receive a text message inviting you to download a new ringtone by responding to the message or calling a 1-800 number. People who have answered the text message have been charged a fee or later learn that they were enrolled in services without their authorization. More cell phone scams to avoid can be found here.
ONLINE SURVEY SPAM
It isn’t uncommon to find advertisements on the internet that promise “easy money” to those who are willing to spend a few moments to fill out an online survey. Many companies offering this service are scammers. Here are a few ways to spot them:
• Does the company ask that you pay a “small fee” first to access their survey?
• Can you find the company’s name through research online?
• How long is the survey? Legitimate online surveys are typically lengthy.
This scam can take the form of an email that offers to locate unclaimed money as long as the purported account holder pays a small fee, buys a membership or calls a certain number. It is important to know that there are legitimate websites that can provide information as to unclaimed funds and their owners. You should check these sites before opening and/or responding to such an email. Those websites are: www.unclaimed.org and www.missingmoney.com.
Tech-enabled Bill Paying
EverSafe is working with a new technology company called SilverBills, which helps clients pay their bills accurately and on-time. SilverBills receives and scrutinizes bills and ensures that they are paid correctly. Clients no longer need to open envelopes, write checks or remember deadlines. If you or your loved one is interested in learning more about SilverBills, call 866-653-4427. If you mention EverSafe, you’ll receive 25% off the first month’s fee.
On April 12-13, 2017 in Mountain View, California, AARP hosted their 6th annual live pitch competition for startups in the Caregiving Health Technology and Financial Technology sectors. Jean Chatzky, financial journalist, joined our group (above). The full press release from AARP can be read here. EverSafe was proud to be a winner of the 2017 Consumer Choice award.
Are you a Mandated Reporter for Elder Abuse?
2017 STATE ELDER ABUSE MANDATED REPORTING CHART
All 50 states have statutes addressing whether individuals are mandated to report cases of suspected elder abuse. In some states, the reporting requirements are widespread. In others, only a limited group of individuals are mandated reporters. 29 states now require financial services professionals to report elder fraud. Need to know more?
—Contact us at email@example.com if you’d like us to send the most current 2017 State by State Elder Abuse Mandated Reporting Chart.
A number of online companies have recently started offering consumers the opportunity to replace a lost or stolen Social Security card for a fee of $30. Beware! Replacement cards are in fact free. The Social Security Administration will replace a card at no charge for anyone who has misplaced their card or changed their name due to marriage or divorce. All forms can be found on their website by clicking here.
GOOGLE DOCUMENTS PHISHING
A recent phishing scam took place earlier this month involving the popular Google Docs application. If you receive an email you weren’t expecting with a link to a Google Document, don’t open it! If you have received such an e-mail and clicked the link, be sure to go to the Permissions page on Google and revoke access to “Google Docs” and then change your password. You can report phishing scams to Google here.
SOCIAL MEDIA SCAMS
The AARP Fraud Watch Network has published top phishing scams to look out for on social media sites. Posts that promise a reward or prize for completing a survey or those that appear to offer free or highly discounted products and services should be viewed with great caution. Fraudsters can also use a fake live-stream link to lure users to click so that they are redirected to a scammer-run website where personal information is compromised.
PUBLIC DATA BREACHES—NOTICE OR PREVENTION?
An emphasis is being given to notifying the public and media when a public data breach has taken place, rather than putting policy and laws in place that make it easier to prevent such an event from occurring in the first place. As a recent TechCrunch article points out, “While notice always will play a role in remediating harm, policymakers should shift their focus to preventative measures, such as more robust and clearer data security standards and incentives for investments in cybersecurity.” EverSafe prioritizes this prevention mindset by stopping exploiters in their tracks before a lifetime of savings is depleted.
Exciting Initiatives—Bright Health
PROTECTING YOURSELF AND LOVED ONES FROM FRAUD
Bright Health is a new and innovative health insurance option in Colorado striving to deliver the best healthcare experience through personalized technology and meaningful relationships. In a recent interview with Liz Loewy, our General Counsel, Bright Health asked for recommendations on preventing fraud. The answer? Click here to read more.
whealthcare planning is a platform of applications that enable financial advisers to more effectively serve and protect older adults and their families. The platform consists of three planning modules and extensive educational materials for both financial advisers and their clients. The modules include:
—FINANCIAL CARETAKING PLAN—Financial management and decision-making assistance
—WHEALTHCARE RISK PROFILE—Questionnaire and analysis to identify risk traits for clients
—LONG-TERM CARE PLAN—Establishes end-of-life living preferences to estimate care costs
“Technology will see things that you don’t see as an individual.”
– Howard Tischler, EverSafe Founder
It’s no secret that scammers today are doing everything in their power to take advantage of seniors with ever—changing and sophisticated schemes that compromise their life savings. New scams target brokers, use misleading letters referencing Social Security and involve phone calls that threaten litigation.
These fraudsters will not rest until they succeed. Recent articles in Investment News and Nasdaq, make clear that the best way to protect assets from these types of assaults is with a monitoring system, like EverSafe, that can alert customers to potential threats.
News for Broker-Dealers
SEC APPROVES PROTECTION FOR SENIOR INVESTORS
The SEC recently approved a FINRA rule, effective February 5, 2018, that, in substance, will require broker-dealers to make reasonable efforts to obtain the name of a “Trusted Contact Person” who may be contacted about a customer’s account.
The new rule also clarifies that FINRA broker-dealers may place a temporary hold on transactions involving the disbursement of funds or securities from accounts of adults who are 65 and older, or adults who are 18 and older when the broker-dealer reasonably believes that he or she has a mental or physical impairment rendering them unable to protect his or her own interests and the broker-dealer believes that financial exploitation of that adult is occurring, has been attempted or will be attempted as long as certain conditions are met.
Advisors, need assistance in figuring out how to implement the “Trusted Contact” rule? EverSafe can help!
Our exclusive Trusted Advocate feature makes it easy. We’ll take care of obtaining “Trusted Contacts'” name(s) and contact information for you, ensuring that they are notified. We can add fraud monitoring, with alerts to “Trusted Contacts,” if requested.
All 50 states have statutes addressing whether adults are mandated to report cases of suspected elder abuse. In some states, the reporting requirements are widespread. In others, only a limited group of individuals are mandated reporters. 29 states now require financial services professionals to report elder fraud. Need to know more?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive the 2017 State by State Elder Abuse Mandated Reporting Chart.
Caregivers & Financial Abuse
ADVISING CAREGIVERS & FAMIILIES
According to a recent study, caregivers who provide assistance to a senior who experiences financial abuse report $36,000 in average losses as a result of the victimization. There are several key steps that caregivers can take to protect themselves and those they love from abuse and exploitation, which include becoming an educated consumer and using technology to monitor checking, savings, investment and retirement accounts.