Your League is urging all credit union employees to watch a new video unveiled by the Wisconsin Department of Justice - and visit a supporting website - to learn how they can help stop elder financial abuse by recognizing the red flags associated with it.
Financial trade groups including your League and the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) are urging employees of credit unions and banks, respectively, to watch for the typical red flags in behavior as well as transactions when a senior is being targeted for fraud or being financially exploited.
A new video (right), released by the Attorney General's office, is available free online as a training tool. All Wisconsin credit unions can and should use it.
- explains the need to safeguard against abuse. The video explains that out of every five people over age 65 have already been victims of financial fraud, and notes that financial institution employees are sometimes the sole witnesses to suspicious transactions. What's more, seniors' financial health affects their physical safety in that financial losses affect their access to food, medication, housing and more. One third of older adults live within 150% of poverty, meaning seniors as a group can least afford to be ripped off. Even seniors with substantial assets cannot afford large losses because they don't have the time to make them up.
- identifies the common perpetrators. Often, it is a relative, family friend or other caregiver who is in a position of trust.
- explains the red flags that indicate abuse may be ocurring. The video urges employees who suspect something amiss to report details according to your institution's procedures. No proof of a crime is required and no dollar amount is too small.
- explains the benefits of reporting suspected abuse. These include promoting community wellness and goodwill, decreasing uninsured losses to your institution, and feeling great for protecting the vulnerable, among others.
- invites visits to www.reportelderabusewi.org to learn more.
The video was unveiled at three press conferences, held in;
- Madison - the event was hosted by Heritage Credit Union, with President & CEO Anita Rausch. League President & CEO Brett Thompson provided remarks.
- Milwaukee - Jennifer Schilling, President of Empower Credit Union, represented credit unions at the event.
- Green Bay - Tony Klockow, President of Kohler Credit Union, represented credit unions.
The video resulted from the work of a task force on elder abuse convened by Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, which included input from The League and other stakeholders.
"The impact of financial elder abuse on Wisconsin seniors is real and growing," said League President & CEO Brett Thompson in the DOJ's press release. “We applaud Attorney General Schimel’s efforts on this important issue and credit unions across the state look forward to utilizing this new educational tool to better serve and protect their senior members.”
Questions? Conact Sarah Wainscott, VP of Government Affairs, at (608) 640-4030.
Wisconsin credit unions come together as a single League to Unite for Good; we remove barriers, increase awareness and foster service excellence. All of these steps help more Americans to see credit unions as their best financial partner and regard their credit union as their primary financial institution. Read more articles in our Unite for Good series.