New Tools Help Seniors Avoid Scams

Oct 18, 2011, 11:07 ET from National Council on Aging

Seniors, Professionals, and Caregivers Can Learn Tips  to Protect Vulnerable Older Adults

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new toolkit from the National Council on Aging (NCOA), produced in partnership with the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER), and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation—Savvy Savings Seniors: Steps to Avoid Scams—is helping to educate older adults about how to protect themselves from financial abuse and scams.


Financial fraud is one of the most common forms of elder abuse, and also one of the most underreported. According to, older adults represent "12 percent of the U.S. population, but are 35 percent of all fraud victims." Scams and swindles deprive older adults of their hard-earned assets and retirement savings, and can leave them feeling confused, fearful, and ashamed.

"We must acknowledge that helping to protect seniors from scams is a vital component to ensuring their safety and financial independence," said Sandra Nathan, senior vice president of economic security at NCOA. "This toolkit helps older adults identify the common forms of financial fraud, and take action to protect their hard-earned resources."

The toolkit is the second in the Savvy Saving Seniors financial education series, following the release of a guide on money management skills earlier this year. In addition to offering typical scam scenarios, the toolkit includes step-by-step instructions for professionals to facilitate a workshop with older clients, and a list of signs for caregivers and family members to look for when concerned about their loved one.

"All seniors, but especially older women -- the prime targets of financial scams, need the very best information to protect their income and assets and avoid financial exploitation," said Cindy Hounsell, president of WISER.  

The Savvy Saving Seniors toolkits are part of a larger initiative between NCOA and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to provide one-on-one financial assistance to over 1,200 older adults experiencing economic distress over the next year.

"Everyone can benefit from financial education—but it's especially important for vulnerable populations, such as seniors, who may have little income and resources," said Kerry Sullivan, president of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. "We hope that this toolkit enables older adults to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to avoid scams and remain in control of their income and assets."

To participate in a free webinar on Oct. 24th on how to use the toolkit, click here. For additional information on this toolkit and how to get help, please click here.

About NCOA  
The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA's mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged. NCOA is a national voice for older Americans and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities.  |  |

The Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement is a nonprofit organization established in 1996 dedicated to the education and advocacy that will improve the long-term financial quality of life for women. As the only organization to focus exclusively on the unique financial challenges that women face, WISER supports women's opportunities to secure adequate retirement income through research, workshops, and partnerships.

It creates consumer publication that explain in easy-to-understand language the complex issues surrounding Social Security, divorce, pay equity, pensions, savings and investments, banking, home-ownership, long-term care and disability insurance. WISER also operates the National Education and Resource Center on Women and Retirement planning.    

About Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy
Building on a long-standing tradition of investing in the communities it serves, Bank of America is delivering on a 10-year goal to donate $2 billion to nonprofit organizations engaged in improving the health and vitality of their neighborhoods. Funded by Bank of America, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation gave more than $200 million in 2010, making the bank one of the largest corporate cash donors in the United States.  As a global company doing business in more than 100 countries, Bank of America approaches investing through a national strategy under which it works with local leaders to identify and meet the most pressing needs of individual communities.  Reaffirming a commitment to develop and sustain a culture of service, bank associate volunteers contributed more than one million hours in 2010 to enhance the quality of life in their communities worldwide. For more information about Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy, please visit

SOURCE National Council on Aging