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Texas League, Real Solutions Join On Elder Fin Abuse Project
FARMERS BRANCH, Texas, and MADISON, Wis. (3/21/13)--The Texas Credit Union League and its REAL Solutions program have partnered to develop an initiative to promote awareness about elder financial abuse and exploitation in the financial services industry.

"Credit unions can play a critical role in helping to reduce elder financial abuse and exploitation," said Mike Delker, TCUL senior vice president of Credit Union Relations. "Frontline staff members are the first defense in identifying suspicious activity" (LoneStar Leaguer March 20).

Red flags regarding abuse may include unusual, suspicious or stepped-up activity by accountholders on their own or in conjunction with another person who could be coercing the accountholder to make transactions they normally would not make. Credit unions should watch for:

  • Transactions made outside a credit union, such as several ATM transactions the accountholder normally would visit inside the branch to make;
  • Unusual or accelerated debit card activity for an accountholder;
  • Closure of certificates of deposit without regard to penalties;
  • Frequent or large wire transfers, which might start small but grow in amounts as the scammer or abuser gains confidence;
  • Online banking activities: new online accounts with accelerated activity;
  • Lines of credit with accelerated activity or with the credit always maxed out;
  • Home-equity lines of credit with previous little activity and that are always maxed out;
  • New loan applications for purchases unusual for elders;
  • Stepped-up non-sufficient funds activity;
  • Several checks written on an account that usually has a few written, or many out-of-sequence check numbers;
  • Unusual changes in account beneficiaries;
  • New or unusual transactions via powers of attorneys;
  • Change of address for monthly statements but for the home address;
  • Change in marital status by widows/widowers, in combination with other red flags;
  • Unusual or suspicious automated clearing house transactions;
  • New co-signer on an account, in conjunction with other red flags; and
  • Banking by mobile phone, in conjunction with other red flags.
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