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Maryland Combats Elder Financial Abuse Through Education and Outreach

BALTIMORE (April 26, 2018) – The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation today announced its participation in a joint initiative with the Maryland Department of Aging, Maryland Bankers Association, and MD|DC Credit Union Association to combat elder financial abuse. The initiative is comprised of written materials and outreach events that provide clear information to consumers and bring greater attention to the signs of elder financial abuse and prevention.

In 2017, there were over 49,000 reports of fraud and identity theft in Maryland. While exploitation by strangers is prevalent, there are increasing scenarios of family members, caregivers, acquaintances, and care facilities betraying the trust of older Marylanders.

“An effective way to assist individuals in safeguarding their financial well-being is through education,” said Secretary Rona E. Kramer of the Maryland Department of Aging. “It is a priority for our department to raise awareness of the various types of fraud, and to ensure that residents know where to find assistance if they find themselves a victim of financial abuse.”

According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, financial exploitation is a fast-growing form of abuse of seniors and adults with disabilities. Over five percent of older adults experience financial exploitation annually and financial exploitation costs seniors billions of dollars each year. However, only one in 44 financial exploitation incidents are reported to authorities, making it difficult to fully quantify the issue.

“Financial exploitation is the most prevalent form of elder abuse, and its frequency is expected to grow as our population ages,” said Commissioner of Financial Regulation Tony Salazar. “The Department of Labor is committed to safeguarding Marylanders’ financial futures. We do this through sound regulatory practices, but also through education and outreach. This initiative will provide our older population with the information they need to protect their financial accounts and prevent abuse.”

The Department of Labor, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Aging, Maryland Office of the Attorney General, Maryland Bankers Association, and the MD|DC Credit Union Association, has produced a brochure that informs seniors of their options for account ownership and survivorship. This free brochure is available on the Department of Labor’s website and covers account terms and conditions, access and authorization, multiple-party ownership, and beneficiaries.

"We hope that our coordination of this initiative will improve consumers' ability to combat elder abuses, bring greater awareness of the risks to all parties, and alleviate families' concerns," said Commissioner Salazar.

Throughout the rest of 2018, the department’s financial regulation team will participate in outreach events with agency partners to further expand the reach of this initiative.

To report suspected elder abuse or to get help in the event of abuse, contact 800-332-6347.

What Account is Right for You? Account Ownership and Survivorship brochure

Questions and complaints regarding Maryland state-chartered banks, credit unions, or trust companies can be filed with the Commissioner of Financial Regulation’s Consumer Services Unit though one of the following channels:

Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation website
Phone: 410-230-6077 | 888-784-0136
E-mail: DLFRComplaints-DLLR@maryland.gov
Fax: 410-333-3866

About the Maryland Department of Labor
The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) is committed to safeguarding and protecting Marylanders. We're proud to support the economic stability of the state by providing businesses, the workforce, and the consuming public with high-quality, customer-focused regulatory, employment, and training services. For updates and information, follow DLLR on Twitter (@MD_DLLR), Facebook and visit our website.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Theresa Blaner
Director, Communications and Media Relations
410-230-6241 (office)
443-721-8637 (cell)