Department of Financial Institutions/Governor's Office
Kentucky Joins Nationwide Effort to Combat Financial Victimization of the Elderly

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, November 17, 2010  
Contact Information:  Kerri Richardson
502.564.2611
502.330.6633

Jill Midkiff
502.564.2611
502.330.1185

Kelly May, DFI
502.573.3390, ext. 252
502.229.5068

Patrick Mitchell, IPT
703.276.3266
 


   FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2010) – Governor Steve Beshear today announced that the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions will join 23 other states in the groundbreaking Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention Program. The 24 states participating in the program will work with medical professionals to detect cases in which older Americans either are being scammed or are in danger of being ripped off by an investment con artist.
 
   “The best way to protect the financial security of Kentucky senior citizens is to take action before the money is gone,” said Gov. Steven Beshear. “By soliciting the expertise of the medical community, we hope to quickly detect and prevent investment fraud against this vulnerable population.”

   The program is a collaboration between the Investor Protection Trust (IPT), Investor Protection Institute (IPI), the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) in cooperation with leading U.S. medical associations including the American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians, American Geriatrics Society, National Area Health Education Center Organization, and the National Association of Geriatric Education Centers. It was created by the Baylor College of Medicine with grant funding from the IPT and piloted in Texas.

   “Given that front-line medical professionals who deal everyday with older Americans are ideally positioned to spot the impaired mental capacity that can leave some seniors vulnerable to investment fraud, our new program seeks to inform doctors, nurses and others about the warning signs of elder investment fraud and financial exploitation,” said IPT President and CEO Don Blandin.

   According to the 2010 Investor Protection Elder Fraud Survey released in June, 7.3 million older Americans – one out of every five citizens over the age of 65 – already have been victimized by a financial swindle.  Of particular concern are seniors with mild cognitive impairment. A 2008 Duke University study found that about 35 percent of the 25 million people over age 71 in the U.S. either have mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease. This makes them especially vulnerable to financial exploitation, including investment fraud.    

   The Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention Program will train Kentucky medical professionals how to spot elderly patients who may be particularly vulnerable to financial abuse. Suspected investment fraud involving these at-risk patients should be referred to state securities regulators and/or to Adult Protective Services (APS) professionals.

   “Joining this program will forge new partnerships with the medical professionals who work directly with the elderly. This way, we hope to shut down investment scams at an earlier stage, before our seniors are separated from their life savings,” said DFI Securities Division Director Shonita Bossier.

   The Investor Protection Trust (www.investorprotection.org) is a nonprofit organization devoted to investor education. The primary mission of IPT is to provide independent, objective information needed by consumers to make informed investment decisions. Founded in 1993 as part of a multi-state settlement to resolve charges of misconduct, IPT serves as an independent source of unbiased and non-commercial investor education materials. The Investor Protection Institute (www.protectinvestors.org) is a nonprofit organization that promotes investor protection by conducting and supporting research and education programs.

   DFI (www.kfi.ky.gov) is an agency in the Public Protection Cabinet. It supervises the financial services industry by examining, chartering, licensing and registering various financial institutions, securities firms and professionals operating in Kentucky. DFI’s mission is to serve Kentucky residents and protect their financial interests by maintaining a stable financial industry, continuing effective and efficient regulatory oversight, promoting consumer confidence, and encouraging economic opportunities.

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NOTE:  A streaming audio recording of a telephone-based news conference is available online at www.investorprotection.org.