SAFE – (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation)
What Is Financial Exploitation?
Financial exploitation means any action which involves the misuse of a person’s funds or property. Many people have been financially exploited by people they knew – paid caregivers, neighbors, even relatives. More people are exploited by people they know than by con artists who are strangers.
Examples of financial exploitation include:
- forging signatures on checks, withdrawal slips, or other financial documents
- making unauthorized withdrawals from financial accounts
- coercing or threatening someone into giving away money
- tricking someone with a memory impairment into turning over money
- charging excessive fees for rent or caregiver services
- committing person-to-person, mail, or telephone fraud scams
Project SAFE is an informal public/private coalition of 16 different organizations that share a common goal of preventing and remedying financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. Project SAFE has offered training to the financial and law enforcement communities on how to detect and report financial exploitation. Project SAFE also educates older Marylanders on how to avoid financial exploitation. The 16 organizations comprising Project SAFE are:
- Maryland Department of Aging
- Maryland Department of Human Services
- Maryland Attorney General’s Office
- Comptroller of Maryland
- Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation
- Maryland Bankers Association
- Maryland/District of Columbia Credit Union Association
- Maryland Association for Bank Security
- Maryland Home Improvement Commission
- Maryland Association of Area Agencies on Aging
- BC-REST: Baltimore County – Restoring Elder Safety Today
- ElderSAFE™ Center
- CHANA – SAFE: Stop Abuse of Elders
- CCCSMD – Consumer Credit Counseling Services
- United States Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland
Various materials produced by SAFE are available, including:
- Training materials for employees of financial institutions (You can download the Model Reference Manual for Financial Institution Employees here.)
- An educational brochure for the public entitled “Protect Your Money.”
- Aninfographic flow chart on how to report Elder Financial Exploitation.
- A brochure to help seniors avoid entering into joint accounts with inappropriate relatives entitled “What Account Is Right for You.”
For more information about this program, contact the Maryland Department of Aging, on the internet at Elder Abuse Prevent or toll-free at 1-800-AGE-DIAL or 1-800-243-3425, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.