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Ten thousand people in the United States are turning sixty-five every day. Thirty-seven percent of senior’s report that they are currently being pitched by people soliciting them for money. Retired Americans have an estimated $15 trillion of investible income and about $3 billion a year transfers hands to criminals because of fraud and exploitation. Because of these staggering numbers, Wyoming Credit Union Young Professionals wanted to help protect our seniors. Cooperatively, Credit Unions in Wyoming came together, shared information, presented to staff and in the communities to help better protect our seniors from fraud and financial exploitation.
June was Elder Abuse Awareness month, and we wanted to take the opportunity to educate our communities on Financial Elder Abuse. Trona Valley Credit Union, Laramie Plains Federal Credit Union, Campco Federal Credit Union, Atlantic City Federal Credit Union, Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union, and Reliant Federal Credit Union joined efforts to educate more than 100 credit union employees and approximately more than 600 people in the community about the risk factors of fraud and exploitation. The Credit Unions presented to groups at local senior citizen centers, sparked discussions around common types of fraud, and spoke with elders individually to help them be better prepared to protect their finances. For example, we discussed international lottery fraud, IRS, and grandparent scams. We provided tools and tactics for how to protect yourself and your personal information against criminals.
This was a very rewarding experience for everyone involved. Many seniors came with their own stories and some were currently being scammed; Credit Unions made a difference and helped protect them from distributing their money into the wrong hands. This topic is near and dear to all of us and we can understand how difficult it can be for retirees to live comfortably on a fixed income. Most American’s are one scam away from poverty. In someone’s elder years, it is more important than ever that they are prepared to protect themselves.
Doing good is good business. Especially for Credit Unions, we have a civic duty to promote financial independence in our communities. For Wyoming, Credit Union’s made a significant impact for some individuals that needed our guidance the most. We built a solid foundation for a relationship with senior citizen centers. We empowered employees in all tiers of the organization chart to lead the discussion and be better equipped to identify risks associated with fraud and financial exploitation. This project was not only good for our communities, it was good for our business.