WASHINGTON, Sept 24 U.S. regulators on Tuesday
said banks may be positioned to identify older people who have
fallen prey to financial scams and clarified that firms can
report suspected abuse.
Officials say older people, who often have retirement
savings and may experience memory loss, may be taken advantage
of by financial advisors, caregivers and others.
In general, privacy rules say U.S. financial institutions
must alert consumers before providing nonpublic information
about them to a third party, and consumers must be allowed to
opt out of this data-sharing.
These rules do not apply when banks suspect financial abuse
of older Americans, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,
Federal Reserve and other regulatory agencies clarified.
"Employees of financial institutions may be able to spot
irregular transactions, account activity or behavior that
signals financial abuse," the agencies said in a statement.
"They can play a key role in preventing and detecting elder
financial exploitation by reporting suspicious activities to the
The consumer bureau in particular has focused on cracking
down on scams aimed at elderly people, and it has an office
dedicated to protecting older Americans from abuse.
Regulators said on Tuesday that studies show that only a
small fraction of financial abuse involving older people is ever
reported. Banks may report suspected incidents to local, state
or federal authorities, the agencies said.