Jun 15, 2020
AARP BankSafe Announces New Coronavirus Exploitation-Prevention Training for Financial Institution Employees

WASHINGTON— Today AARP announced a new online training module to help financial institution employees identify and stop suspected financial exploitation during the pandemic. As the coronavirus poses significantly greater health risks to older Americans, it is also triggering a wide array of financial scams, fraud and exploitation specifically tailored to our country’s most vulnerable population.

As part of the AARP BankSafe Initiative and coinciding with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the new section will help financial institutions act fast to protect the assets of consumers.  The training includes interactive videos, scenarios and activities specifically designed to help banks and credit unions respond to exploitation trends identified as a result of the coronavirus.

“As perpetrators are capitalizing on our anxiety and fears caused by the pandemic, it’s essential for employees of our nation’s banks and credit unions to be prepared to stop financial exploitation,” said Jilenne Gunther, AARP’s national director of BankSafe. “The stakes couldn’t be higher, and this training is crucial in helping them better protect older Americans’ savings.”

Every year, financial institutions lose more than $1 billion in deposits due to the exploitation of Americans over 50 years of age. While Americans 50-plus are roughly a third of the U.S. population, they control more than two-thirds of U.S. retail bank deposits.

Launched in May 2019, the BankSafe training, available at no cost to banks and credit unions, has enabled financial institutions to better protect seven million consumers and stop nearly $17 million from potential exploitation.

“Our members come to us because they trust us, and now we have the training to show them that we can help protect them from exploitation,” said Upward Credit Union CEO Linda White.

AARP BankSafe collaborated with the financial industry to develop and distribute the platform nationwide. Founding distributors Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), along with a host of state and local organizations, teamed with AARP to encourage their members to participate in the training, significantly expanding the impact of BankSafe.

“The BankSafe training will empower frontline staff to know what types of exploitation are out there, recognize the red flags, and make informed decisions about how to handle it,” said Michele McRoy, Bank of Tennessee Assistant Vice President Security Officer.

More information about the training platform, including registration instructions for interested financial institutions, can be found at aarp.org/banksafe.

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About AARP
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

Media Contact: Exernal Relations, media@aarp.org, 202-434-2650, @AARPMedia