As of August 1, 2018, the “Safe Senior Act” goes into effect in Minnesota. The “Safe Senior Act” allows broker-dealers and investment advisers to report possible financial exploitation of seniors and vulnerable adults to the Minnesota Department of Commerce or the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center. This bipartisan legislation proposed by the Minnesota Commerce Department was signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton during the 2018 Legislative Session.
In a press release issued by the Minnesota Commerce Department, Commerce Commissioner Jessica Looman praised the new law as “an opportunity for the Commerce Department to partner with financial professionals to spot and stop fraud before seniors lose their hard-earned life savings.”
In Minnesota, there are more than 2,000 broker-dealer and investment adviser firms, and more than 160,000 individual broker-dealers and investment advisers. Now, they are more equipped with the tools they need to protect the financial interests of elder clients.
Scam artists looking to make a quick buck of off Minnesota’s rapidly growing senior population target older adults across the state. One out of five seniors has been the victim of a financial swindle. The most common scams targeting seniors are phone scams, timeshare resale scams and pension advance scams.
If a senior is unsure of the legitimacy of a financial request, the Minnesota Department of Commerce suggests asking for the person’s name and agency and calling the agency directly, not the phone number they gave you, to confirm who they are. Two other preventative steps are to never give personal or financial information over the phone, and to be suspicious of overeager sellers and “too good to be true” deals.
Three red flags may signify a person is the victim of financial fraud, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce:
- Unpaid bills
- An unexplained lack of money
- A sudden appearance of a new “friend”
For more information, view the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Financial Fraud Prevention for Older Adults Toolkit.
If you or your aging loved one believes fraud or other financial exploitation has occurred, you can request a credit freeze or fraud alert on your credit report by calling the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Consumer Services Center at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602.