In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, DFI reminds financial professionals and the public throughout Wisconsin to be on the lookout for elder financial abuse, including potential exploitation by family members or caretakers.

“Senior financial exploitation is a growing problem. Many in our elderly population are vulnerable due to social isolation and distance from family, caregiver, and other support networks,” DFI Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld said. “Taking the time to understand the warning signs and the steps that can be taken to report financial abuse are key to helping those who cannot help themselves.”

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), of which DFI is a member, has developed resources to help call attention to the red flags of fraud and suspected guardian financial abuse. For example, the “Guarding the Guardians” publication provides examples of exploitation and information on how to report suspected abuse.

Examples of suspected guardian abuse include:

• The guardian takes money from the protected individual’s investment portfolio to buy a flashy car for personal use.

• The guardian overcharges for a caregiving service, such as billing the estate hourly for wait time to file paperwork in person when it could have been submitted online.

• The guardian does not take the protected individual to medical appointments or purchase necessary medication.

The publication as well as other resources to help seniors are available on NASAA’s Serve Our Seniors website (serveourseniors.org) at the following link:

http://serveourseniors.org/about/investors/. Other senior investor protection resources are available on the DFI’s website at http://www.wdfi.org/.

Financial and investment professionals also are encouraged to contact the agency to request a Senior$afe presentation on how to spot and report suspected senior financial exploitation.

Secretary-designee Blumenfeld asks anyone with suspicions of possible senior financial exploitation to contact the agency at 608-266-2139.

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