Cyber Safety

How to Combat Financial Exploitation of Seniors

Training an industry to detect and deter

LIMRA advances a scenario-based education program that provides an overview of financial exploitation. Visit

According to The United States Census Bureau, the population of the United States is rapidly becoming older. One of their latest projections says that 20 percent of the country’s population will be over the age of 65 by 2030. For the first time in the country’s history, older people are projected to outnumber children.

With this growing senior population, the country will face several challenges. One will be the potential increase of financial exploitation of its senior citizens, which currently costs the country nearly $3 billion annually, according to a MetLife Study.

The newly implemented Senior Safe Act, which President Trump signed into law on May 24, 2018, looks to protect American seniors from financial exploitation. The law encourages financial services firms to provide “appropriate training to front-line employees and producers, while granting immunity to those that report suspected abuse to regulators and law enforcement authorities.”

Recognizing Financial Exploitation

Here at LIMRA, our new training program Recognizing Financial ExploitationTM (RFE) was designed to help train the financial services industry to help detect and deter fraud. The online, scenario-based education program, is a fast and easy way to help financial professionals comply with emerging legislation and regulations.

What are some other ways that advisors can identify financial exploitation among seniors? We identified three common things to remain alert for when helping serve a senior client:

1. Knowledge of Possible Health Issues
Seniors are more likely to develop health-related issues as they get older. Some of these health issues could make it more difficult for older people to keep track of their finances. For example, research indicates that people with dementia are at a greater risk of elder abuse than those without.

2. Analyzing Potential Perpetrators
It is important to look at all the possibilities when assessing potential fraud of a senior client, it is not always just a stranger. You might be some surprised by the most likely candidates for potential perpetrators on senior citizens. Family members (58 percent) are actually the most common criminals in financial exploitation, followed by friends and neighbors (17 percent) and then home care aides (15 percent).

3. Keeping Information Private
As more people across all generations use the internet for every-day activities, including banking and shopping, there is greater potential for fraud. Seniors may be more vulnerable to scams and other fraudulent behavior because they often have the least experience with technology and the internet. It is common for criminals to use email phishing to target seniors who may be more trusting and likely to enter personal information. Getting elderly people placed on Do Not Call lists and educating them about not giving out any financial information can help.

The Senior Safe Act

Seniors may be more vulnerable to scams and other fraudulent behavior because they often have the least experience with technology and the internet

“Elder financial abuse is a growing concern in our nation, affecting 1 in 10 senior Americans and costing at least $3 billion annually1,” said Robert Kerzner, president and CEO, LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global. “RFE was designed as an industry-wide solution to help companies and financial professionals comply with the Senior Safe Act and FINRA’s Rule 2165. More importantly, our training will support our industry as it leads the efforts to detect those who seek to defraud our seniors.”

RFE, developed in collaboration with our members and other industry experts, is an effective, online scenario-based education program that provides front-line employees and financial representatives an overview of financial exploitation; helps them recognize red flags; and teaches them the steps they can take to help protect seniors and other vulnerable clients.

The curriculum can be customized to meet individual company requirements and will include state-specific resources and tools. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Define elder abuse and financial exploitation of seniors and vulnerable adults
  • Identify the characteristics of senior clients that can make them more vulnerable to financial exploitation
  • Describe common types and methods of financial exploitation
  • Identify suspicious activities, transactions, and other red flags that may indicate potential financial exploitation using scenario-based exercises

“This is an important issue for the industry and our country. Protecting our seniors should be a priority for all of us,” said Kerzner. “We hope this program lessens the occurrence of the financial exploitation while helping our members comply with today’s regulations.”

See Recognizing Financial Exploitation.




1AARP BankSafe Initiative 2016
LIMRA, a worldwide research, learning and development organization, is the trusted source of industry knowledge, helping more than 850 insurance and financial services companies in 64 countries.  Visit LIMRA at and follow us on Twitter @LIMRANewsCenter