Late in July, a new law passed by Minnesota lawmakers took effect that equips financial professionals with new tools and protections that help them protect senior citizens and other vulnerable adults from fraud. The law was proposed by the Minnesota Commerce Department and garnered the support from senior advocacy groups and financial service providers.
The Details of the Law
Under the new rules outlined in the law, broker-dealers and investment advisers are now allowed to:
- Contact the Commerce Department or the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center if they suspect that fraud or some type of financial exploitation is being committed against a senior citizen or vulnerable person.
- Disclose information to third-parties that have been designated by their clients.
The law also allows:
- Temporarily delaying withdrawals and transfers from accounts when fraud is suspected. This prevents financial loss while officials conduct an investigation.
- Immunity from administrative or civil liability for financial advisors who are found to have been acting in good faith to prevent fraud.
The Growing Problem of Fraud
According to estimates by financial regulators, senior citizens in the United States are defrauded to the amount of $3 billion dollars every year. Recent reports estimate that up to 20% of persons over the age of 65 have been the victims of some type of financial scam.
These scams range from false phone calls about insurance to the all-to-common email scams that inundate email boxes every day. It’s estimated that 45% of all emails (about 14.5 billion emails a day) sent are some type of spam, many of which are scams targeting the vulnerable people with money.
Ways to Protect the Finances of Vulnerable Adults
These cases of fraud, scams and abuse are why conservatorships and surety bonds are important for seniors and vulnerable people who have estates. Conservators are appointed to oversee the management of a protected person assets. If you suspect or see one of the many signs of financial exploitation in a protected person, you can petition to the court to have an emergency conservator appointed to head off any fraud or abuse that may be taking place. It’s best to contact and consult with an attorney right away.
Disclaimer: this is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. If you need legal counsel, please contact an attorney directly.