The "Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention Program" is a new, nationwide collaborative effort of the Investor Protection Trust, adult protective services professionals, medical experts, and twenty-four securities regulators, according to a Nov. 17 Press Release that announced the program. A creation of the Baylor College of Medicine, the program was funded by the Investor Protection Trust and seeks to educate medical professionals on how to spot older patients who may be vulnerable to investment fraud.
According to the press release, recent medical research has shown that at least one-third of the U.S. population over the age of 71 has either mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease, both of which may make an individual more susceptible to financial abuse by scam artists or unscrupulous financial advisers.
Once identified by the medical professionals, the at-risk patients will be referred to state securities regulators and adult protective services professionals who will then assist the individuals by providing them with information on how to avoid falling prey to investment fraud.
"There is a medical component to elderly investment fraud that has been overlooked and cannot be addressed solely by state securities regulators. As state agencies, we need to combine our efforts with the unique front-line perspective of doctors and other professionals to get help to victims, and those most at risk of becoming victims, at the earliest possible point," said Irving Faught, administrator of the Oklahoma Securities Commission and chairman of the Investor Protection Institute, in the press release.
The widespread prevalence of the financial abuse of older Americans was made apparent in the "IPT Elder Investor Fraud Survey" released on June 15, 2010. The survey showed that one out of every five U.S. citizens over the age of 65 already had been the victim of investment fraud or another form of financial abuse.
The North American Securities Administrators Association, the National Adult Protective Services Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the National Area Health Education Center Organization, and the National Association of Geriatric Education Centers are all involved in the program.