The New Senior Safe Act: S$A Provides Immunity for Reporting
On May 24th, 2018 President Trump signed The New Senior Safe Act into federal law, encouraging financial professionals to report senior financial abuse. Since financial advisors and bank employees are usually the first to witness clients making money withdraws that are not common, the law rewrites protocol and protection for those that report abuse. The old law left loopholes citing ‘customer privacy’ when reporting to authorities the suspected fraud. Bank employees and financial advisors had their ‘hands tied’ even if reporting was in the client’s best interest; previously reporting suspected financial abuse or fraud required obtaining the client’s permission to report it.
The new S$A Law moves the reporting to the federal level, over-riding the 25 states that still have customer privacy laws preventing the financial professional or company from reporting without client consent. Although not a mandate, the new law encourages and protects the individual reporting abuse or fraud from scrutiny or termination by their employer due to company client privacy rules.
To have protection under the new law, the financial company is required to have a training program that addresses identifying, documenting and reporting protocol. The new law is a positive step in protecting financial professionals and their employees as well as financial clients. Since most seniors view their financial professional as someone they can trust, many disclose information about a person, transaction, or scam unknowingly to the professional, who now is in a position to help stop it. Regular conversations with seniors about their finances may reveal abuse or concerns they have about a family member or friend asking for money.
The most common ways scammers get to seniors is through telemarketing (phone), the internet, or through personal contact of a stranger forming a new ‘friendship’ with the senior, or through their family member. As people age, their ability to decipher fraud becomes less likely to happen, making them easier targets.
If you or someone you know has concerns they may be a victim of financial abuse, contacting your local law enforcement is encouraged and working with a financial adviser you trust is a must. Call our office today to schedule a complimentary portfolio review.