Preventing Financial Exploitation
The following groups have been established to address the problems of financial abuse/exploitation.
Elder Abuse Task Force
In 2000, twenty–eight professionals representing legal, banking, and social service and advocacy networks were asked by the Governor to serve on the Elder Abuse Task Force and lend their expertise to help thousands of Illinois seniors who are financially abused.
In October 2001, the Task Force forwarded to the Governor its recommendations, which explored a variety of ways to better protect vulnerable older people in Illinois from financial exploitation.
B*SAFE is an acronym for Bankers and Seniors Against Financial Exploitation.
B*SAFE is a partnership that helps train bank personnel how to detect, prevent and report financial exploitation. The program is supported by:
- Illinois Department on Aging,
- Illinois Bankers Association,
- Illinois Community Bankers Association,
- Office of the Attorney General, and
- TRIAD, an organization comprised of law enforcement, government entities and advocacy groups committed to the prevention of crimes against the elderly.
The B*SAFE program was developed in 2001 through a collaboration of law enforcement and state agencies, to address the growing problem of financial exploitation. B*SAFE is a public education program that targets bank personnel as the first line of defense against financial exploitation. A senior often sees the same teller who routinely handles his/her financial transactions each time he/she visits the banking facility. That teller is in a prime position to be able to detect any changes from the senior’s normal transactions.
The B*SAFE program educates the teller on potential signs of financial exploitation. The program also encourages networking between the bank, local law enforcement, and the Adult Protective Services Provider Agency (APS PA). The teller training is handled through the APS PA. Each APS PA has a staff member who has been through the B*SAFE train-the-trainer program, who will be able to provide training to bank personnel.
In 2005, the Illinois Department on Aging received a grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) to develop and print inserts to be distributed to bank customers via their monthly bank statements. The grant also included the development and printing of a financial exploitation brochure targeted at senior customers, to be made available at banking facilities, as well as posters that financial institutions can display in their lobbies. This information, along with the current B*SAFE brochures, may be viewed by clicking on the links provided below.
If you would like more information about the B*SAFE program, would like to set up a training program for staff, or would like to request public education materials, please contact the Adult Protective Services Program. You may also download the following B*SAFE brochures in News and Publications.
Be a Savvy Senior
"Be a Savvy Senior" is a series of publications designed to raise older adults' awareness of financial exploitation and to teach them to look for the warning signs. Download the brochure, posters and flyers in News and Publications.
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