Forensic accountants play a vital role in protecting vulnerable seniors from financial exploitation. Nonetheless, it’s a growing problem, with estimates suggesting that seniors lose over $36 billion annually due to fraud. As a result, that’s why it’s important to be familiar with the Senior Safe Act. This is a law passed by Congress in 2018 to help prevent the financial exploitation of seniors.
What is the Senior Safe Act?
Overall, the Senior Safe Act is a law designed to encourage financial institutions and their employees to report suspected cases of financial exploitation of seniors. For this reason, it provides certain protections from liability when financial institutions or employees report suspected exploitation to appropriate authorities.
Under the law, financial institutions can train their employees to spot warning signs of financial exploitation. Further, they may encourage them to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement. Additionally, the law also provides immunity from liability for financial institutions and their employees who make such reports when they are in good faith and reasonable care.
What does this mean for forensic accountants?
Firstly, forensic accountants are often called upon to investigate cases of financial exploitation of seniors. The Senior Safe Act can be a valuable tool in these investigations, as it encourages financial institutions and their employees to report suspected exploitation to law enforcement.
Therefore, forensic accountants may be able to access more information about potential cases of financial exploitation than before the Senior Safe Act came into existence. Financial institutions and their employees may be more willing to share information with you, knowing that they have some protection from liability when they do so.
What are the warning signs of financial exploitation?
It’s important to be able to spot the warning signs of financial exploitation. Some of the most common signs include:
- Unusual or sudden changes in a senior’s financial accounts or transactions.
- The senior giving away large amounts of money or assets to someone they’ve only recently met.
- The senior is being pressured or coerced into making financial decisions they are not comfortable with.
- Unexplained withdrawals or transfers from the senior’s accounts.
- Changes to the senior’s will or other estate planning documents that seem out of character.
If you spot any of these warning signs, it’s important to investigate further to determine whether financial exploitation may be occurring.
In sum, the Senior Safe Act is an important tool in the fight against the financial exploitation of seniors. Being familiar with the law and its provisions can prove to be very valuable in investigations. By working with financial institutions and their employees, you may be able to uncover more information about potential cases of financial exploitation and help protect vulnerable seniors from harm.