One in four elderly Americans have fallen victim to fraud; Financial literacy lacking in wake of high-profile data breaches.
MARLBOROUGH, Mass., Oct. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — As millions of Americans retire over the next decade, financial crimes and abuse against the elderly are occurring at an alarming rate, according to the results of a survey released today by the Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA), a trade group representing not-for-profit credit unions. And even as all Americans encounter scams with increasing regularity, few financial consumers are taking steps to improve their financial literacy in the digital age.
Sixty-seven percent of those identifying themselves as a caretaker reported an elder being targeted with fraud; more than a quarter of elders, at 28%, had also fallen victim to at least one financial scam.
The survey was conducted between September 12 and September 18, 2017, delivering its findings after a wave of high-profile breaches of personal information, just days after credit reporting giant Equifax announced a massive breach of its systems.
The survey of 1,171 Americans found that of those targeted, most were contacted by email (53%), while 49% were contacted by telephone, 16% via text message and 16% by postal mail.
“These findings starkly illustrate the need to get tough on criminals who target seniors in the belief that they are easy victims,” said Paul Gentile, President and CEO of CCUA. “Protecting the elderly is a top priority of credit unions, and we’re proud to work with state regulators on new initiatives, such as training manuals and measures to combat underreporting.”
Last year, 33 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico addressed financial exploitation of elderly and vulnerable adults in their legislative sessions, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.
Close to half of caregivers, at 44%, said their elders had no response plan in place in case of a fraud or identity theft incident. In fact, a quarter of respondents said that they had not even discussed financial abuse with their elder relative or friend. More than one third (39%) said they would characterize the elder they assist as “not at all” or only “somewhat” financially literate.
“While regulators are working hard to address the scourge of financial fraud, education is key, particularly with hundreds of millions of Americans’ personal information readily available to criminals,” Gentile added. “All financial consumers need to take steps to protect themselves financially and digitally, including by being aware of the latest trends in frauds and scams.”
Few Americans Working To Improve Financial Knowledge
The troubling findings extend to financial consumers more generally. Nearly a third of all Americans are worried about encountering financial fraud within the next five years. But despite widespread news coverage of cybercrime, only 17% of respondents said they had taken a financial literacy course themselves in the past five years, and only four percent said the elder in their care had taken such a course.
“Members of credit unions can utilize our counseling services to learn how to protect against the targeting of the elderly, as well as to learn about common threats such as false charities, credit company impostors or supposed IRS collectors,” said Gentile. “Unlike big banks who ‘write off’ a certain level of fraud as the cost of doing business, member-owned credit unions know that every dollar counts, especially for members on fixed incomes, and none should be ceded to criminals.”
The Cooperative Credit Union Association advocates for its member credit unions throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Delaware. Its primary responsibility is to represent the interests of credit unions before Congress and state legislatures, regulatory bodies and the public. In addition, the Association provides excellent learning opportunities for credit union volunteers and professionals and a steady stream of quality information through its Daily CU Scan and various other channels. The Association also works with a select group of businesses that serve the credit union community through its CU Connect program as well as a number of Credit Union System Partners.
Puerto Rico is Open for Tourists
(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico Buzz) – Travelocity® and Expedia Media Solutions®, in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, are ramping up efforts to help shift public perception of the situation in Puerto Rico, this week.
“Puerto Rico has always been a popular destination for travelers, as well as a fantastic, long-term partner, and we jumped at the chance to work with Travelocity to support the Puerto Rico Tourism Company,” said Wendy Olson Killion, global senior director for Expedia Media Solutions. “The collaborative campaign will ensure new and repeat visitors know Puerto Rico is again open for tourism, and that tourism will positively impact the island’s economy and contribute to recovery efforts.”
Approximately 68,000 locals are employed in the tourism sector, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. With this importance to the economy, the simple and enjoyable act of visiting Puerto Rico can make a huge difference. For more information on the Island, travelers can also visit SeePuertoRico.com.
“We are thrilled to have our Travelocity and Expedia partners join in spreading the word that the Island is, in fact, open for tourism,” said Carla Campos, acting executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. “It is with pride and hospitality, traits that characterize our people, that we welcome visitors with open arms, because coming to visit us is the best way to support us right now.”
The campaign, which was donated on behalf of Travelocity and Expedia Media Solutions, includes on site advertising placements, a dedicated page highlighting the hotels and resorts that are open for business in Puerto Rico, and useful content about the country on the Travelocity “Inspire” blog.
Travelocity is offering $150 off a $1500 package booking with code CARIBNOW from now until February 6th, 2018 for travel between now and September 16th, 2018. For full terms and conditions visit http://travelocity.us/PuertoRico.
Rosselló Asks Police Officers to Return to Work
(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico Buzz) – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló asked members of the Puerto Rico Police Department to return to work, Jan. 8.
The massive absenteeism of police officers has been largely attributed to the lack of overtime pay in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, but some say it goes back even further.
“I ask of any partner of the uniformed force that is not attending [work]at this moment – I ask of them to return,” said Rosselló. It’s not just about giving a message about a series of initiatives, but it’s a matter of safety for our people.
Rosselló is currently evaluating how police officers that missed work, will be reprimanded.
“We’re establishing which administrative measures will take place,” said Rosselló. There’s a lot of information that needs to be gathered.
At times, approximately 8,000 police officers have missed worked, out of about 14,000 islandwide.
Police union representatives have said that police officers are using their sick and holiday time available.
Watch Carmen Yulín Suck Up a Load of Bribe Cash
(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico Buzz) – Here we go again. Another Carmen Yulín appearance on The Simpsons.
Spoiler alert: Donald Trump tries to bribe Robert Mueller with a room full of cash. Mueller leaves.
Then Carmen Yulín walks into the room dressed as a housemaid before revealing her usual “comandante de la revolución” outfit.
Yulín then pulls out a vacuum cleaner to suck up the loads of American cold-hard-cash bribe money.
Mueller Meets Trump, Season 29
— Carmen Yulín Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) December 14, 2017
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