Economic Opportunities Committee Update July/August 2016

The Economic Opportunities Committee focuses on promoting meaningful employment opportunities, job training, and help for veterans in business. But there is a darker side to economic opportunities—and that is financial exploitation. The following information is from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which by invitation of the committee will be holding a workshop at the Leadership & Education Conference in Tucson.

The Older Americans Act defines financial exploitation as the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized, or improper actions by a caregiver, fiduciary, or other individual in which the resources of an older person are used by another for personal profit or gain; or actions that result in depriving older people of the benefits, resources, belongings, or assets to which they are entitled.

Some examples of financial exploitation include:

  • • Exploitation by an agent under power of attorney or someone in a fiduciary relationship
  • • Theft of money or property, often by a caregiver or in-home helper
  • • Investment fraud and scams, including deceptive “free-lunch seminars” selling unnecessary or fraudulent financial services or products
  • • Lottery and sweepstakes scams
  • • Scams by telemarketers, mail offers, and door-to-door salespersons
  • • Computer and Internet scams
  • • Identity theft
  • • Reverse mortgage fraud
  • • Contractor fraud and home improvement scams.

Pension Benefits Filing Scam: Aid and assistance may be paid to veterans or surviving spouses who require help with daily activities, are bedridden, are patients in nursing homes, or have major vision loss. Benefits may be paid to veterans or surviving spouses who are substantially confined to their homes because of a permanent disability.

Be aware that an individual generally must be accredited by the VA to help you prepare and file a claim. Never pay a fee to anyone for preparing and filing your initial claim. Avoid attorneys or claims agents who try to market financial products, such as trusts and annuities, in connection with filing your VA claim.

Attend the workshop at the Leadership Conference by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Financial exploitation has been called “the crime of the twenty-first century.” Awareness and prevention are the first steps to avoid becoming a victim.

See you in Tuscon.


Frank Barry, Chair

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