BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Regions Bank on Monday announced a series of resources available to help people recognize and stop senior financial exploitation. The resources are part of Regions Next Step, the bank’s no-cost financial education program that serves people of all ages, regardless of whether they bank with Regions.
June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and with more than 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day, keeping seniors safe from financial abuse is increasingly important. According to the National Council on Aging, the annual loss by victims of financial abuse is estimated to be at least $36.5 billion. Identifying and reporting financial abuse is often difficult for seniors, especially because it can often be caused by someone they trusted or who seemed like they were offering legitimate help.
“It is incredibly disheartening for anyone to recognize they have been scammed, and that’s why it’s so important to empower people with information about common forms of fraud,” said Kate Danella, head of the Consumer Banking Group for Regions Bank. “One of the strongest defenses against fraud is a well-informed public. When people know what to look for, they can often stop financial exploitation from ever succeeding. And here at Regions, we are working to do our part every day. From building strong relationships with customers, to looking out for warning signs and routinely asking questions about transactions and transfers, our goal is to help people protect their assets and avoid financial exploitation.”
Information available year-round through Regions Next Step includes preventive practices, tips for monitoring accounts and investments, advice on identifying a trustworthy power of attorney, and more. This includes a free webinar on Ways to Prevent Elder Financial Abuse available in the expanded Next Step library of resources. The webinar is available on demand and is accessible via a mobile device, tablet or desktop computer.
Regions Next Step also recommends the following:
- Take the time to plan: Estate planning is important to help seniors make key decisions for assets. A thoughtful plan gives seniors full control of their assets, relieves the stress of decision-making for caregivers and family members, saves money, and allows time to gather information and find the best options. Documents include a last will and testament, power of attorney, living will, healthcare directive and more. A Regions legacy planning checklist is available here.
- Evaluate who to trust: When naming an executor, many people look to the most trustworthy person in their life: a spouse, the most responsible child, or a close sibling or friend. A power of attorney can help seniors manage financial affairs and healthcare decisions if they become incapacitated. Consider a family member or trusted friend as a power of attorney, or consider other professionals, like an attorney or CPA, who are held to their own professional standards.
- Know the warning signs: Everyone has a role to serve in keeping loved ones safe. Watch for signs that may signal something is wrong. Red flags may include several new or large withdrawals that are inconsistent with a senior’s banking patterns, not paying bills or buying food or other necessities, and changes in appearance. If there are warning signs of exploitation, report it. If there is immediate danger, call 911. If the financial abuse involves a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission, and contact local adult protective services.
- Protect personal information: Fraudsters exploit seniors because they are often more trusting, have more savings and investment income, or are less likely to regularly check financial accounts and credit scores. Protecting personal information is important to limit the risk of identity theft. Encourage seniors not to provide personally identifiable information, like account numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords, etc., via phone call, letter or email, no matter how friendly or official the circumstances may appear. Only carry documents that are needed, like identification cards, debit cards and credit cards, and leave the others, like a Social Security card, in a safe place. Carefully monitor financial statements and bills to ensure charges are accurate and payments are received. Learn more about how to protect identities and personal information with this no-cost, easy-to-understand online course.
“As people age, one of the most important decisions they’ll make is ensuring their financial resources are protected,” said Joye Hehn, Next Step financial education manager for Regions Bank. “With fraudsters continually on attack, having a plan in place is the best first step to having peace of mind. Regions is committed to providing free tools and resources to help seniors through financial decisions that can reduce the risk of exploitation.”
For more tips and resources, visit www.Regions.com/Next-Step, or visit any Regions branch to speak with an associate.
About Regions Financial Corporation
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $164 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates approximately 1,300 banking offices and more than 2,000 ATMs. Regions Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.
About Regions Next Step®
Regions Next Step is the financial education program from Regions Bank, offering a free collection of action-oriented tips, tools and resources. Next Step is designed to simplify financial topics, help people of all ages and business of varying sizes stay on track and meet financial goals. Resources are available online, in-person, virtually, and in English and Spanish. In 2021, Next Step provided financial education to more than 1.4 million people across the company’s footprint, delivered approximately 124,000 financial wellness workshops, received 2.4 million financial education content page views and associates completed 7,000 financial education volunteer hours. Additional information and resources are available at Regions.com/NextStep.