State agency targets ‘heinous’ elder abuse and fraud

The state Department of Financial Institutions is informing Washington residents on consumer protection issues, including elder abuse, by sharing information through senior centers and the general public statewide on how to avoid financial fraud, telephone and Internet scams.

Charlie Clark, director of Financial Institutions (DFI), said it’s “imperative” that elder abuse “is not tolerated, is reported, and those perpetrating such heinous crimes are punished.”

Experts believe that elder abuse is significantly underreported, in part because some communities lack the social supports that would make it easier for victims to report it. Research suggests that as few as 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities.

Washington’s Vulnerable Adult Protection Act provides a number of protections for our state’s elders, including clear definitions of financial exploitation and training, and reporting requirements for financial professionals.

DFI provides elder fraud prevention tips and information at

 â€œIf you see signs of elder abuse, financial or otherwise, please report it,” Clark said. “Given the importance of elders to our families and community, we must do everything we can to protect them.”