Banking and Finance Law Daily FinCEN finds increased reporting of elder financial exploitation totaling $21.8 billion
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Thursday, December 5, 2019

FinCEN finds increased reporting of elder financial exploitation totaling $21.8 billion

By John M. Pachkowski, J.D.

A FinCEN analysis found that the elderly face an increased financial threat from domestic and foreign actors.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has released a strategic analysis of Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reporting to share information pertaining to elder financial exploitation.

The strategic analysis, which examined 298,601 elder financial exploitation Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed between October 2013 and August 2019, found that elders face an increased threat to their financial security by both domestic and foreign actors. The strategic analysis also noted that elder financial exploitation SAR filings increased dramatically over the six-year study period, from about 2,000 filings per month in 2013 to reaching a peak of nearly 7,500 filings per month in August 2019. The yearly dollar amount of suspicious activity reported for elder financial exploitation also rose. The total dollar amount during the nearly six-year period totaled $21.8 billion.

Commenting on the strategic analysis, FinCEN Director Kenneth A. Blanco said, "The SARs that financial institutions file with us are used to protect our nation and its people from harm. They provide unique and valuable information on crime and other threats happening in the U.S. and around the world impacting our families and communities." He added, "These SARs are also important to filer banks and MSBs because they show trends and patterns in criminal activity. Every financial institution wants to protect its customers, and SAR reporting helps them do that. Awareness of these reporting trends and potential exploitation methods can also help consumers protect themselves."

In February 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau conducted its "first-ever public analysis" of elder financial exploitation. The CFPB’s analysis report showed a substantial increase in the number of SARs filed by financial institutions relating to elder financial exploitation with perpetrators including offshore scammers as well as close family members. The Bureau analyzed 180,000 EFE SARs filed with FinCEN from 2013 to 2017, involving more than $6 billion (see Banking and Finance Law Daily, Feb. 28, 2019).

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