SALEM, Ore., June 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recognition of June 15th as "World Elder Abuse Awareness Day," the Oregon Bankers Association (OBA) is offering tips on how to identify and prevent elder financial abuse.
The OBA has long been committed to elder financial abuse detection and prevention.
In 1999, the OBA first released its Preventing Elder Exploitation: How Banks Can Help training kit. An updated version of the kit, produced in partnership with the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), will be released this fall and distributed to bank branches across Oregon. The kit will help bankers better understand the signs of abuse so cases of suspected abuse can be
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, seniors throughout the United States lose an estimated $2.6 billion annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation.
"The Oregon banking community is committed to ensuring seniors live safely and with dignity," explained Linda Navarro, president and CEO of the OBA. "Banks are in a unique position to spot elder abuse, particular elder financial abuse."
Seniors can steer clear of financial abuse by being alert to the signs and knowing who to turn to for help. The OBA offers the following tips to all consumers:
- Never give your Social Security number, account numbers or other personal financial information over the phone unless you initiated the call.
- Don't open emails from unknown sources, and beware of any notice claiming you have won a lottery.
- Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
- Review your monthly accounts regularly for any unauthorized charges. Report lost or stolen checks immediately.
- Order copies of your credit report once a year to ensure accuracy.
- Lock up your checkbook, account statements and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
- Do business with companies you know are reputable, or first check their references and credentials. Beware of any home improvement contractor that comes to your door or tries to sell you services over the phone.
- If a stranger needs to send you payment for something, insist on a check for the exact amount. Never accept a check for more and wire the difference back.
- Never let someone pressure you into agreeing to loan terms before you've had a chance to review them in writing with a trusted advisor.
- Report any unusual account inquires you receive—whether by phone or email— to your banker, who will take measures to protect your account and notify authorities.
- Carefully choose trustworthy people to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters.
- Talk to your local banker about any financial needs, concerns or questions.
- Anyone who suspects a form of elder abuse in the state of Oregon should report the case immediately to DHS by calling 1-800-232-3020.
About The Oregon Bankers Association
Established in 1905, the Oregon Bankers Association is Oregon's only full-service trade association representing state and national commercial banks, thrifts and savings banks chartered to do business in Oregon. More information is available at www.oregonbankers.com.
SOURCE Oregon Bankers Association