A Toledo area assisted living resident recently almost became a victim of a scam when she received a call that her granddaughter was in jail and that police needed $2,000 worth of iTunes gift cards to bail her out.

The cashier at the grocery story where the woman tried to purchase the gift cards became suspicious and ultimately called the police, who were able to convince the older adult that the call was a scam. Police called the woman’s family, who assured the woman that her granddaughter was fine. The cashier called the assisted living community; she had discovered the woman’s place of residence because of a key chain she was carrying.

Television station WTOL reported the story on Tuesday. Such attention to detail and collaboration are the key to success in preventing financial exploitation of the elderly, according to a report released the same day by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The report specifically addresses networks of community stakeholders and resources formed to prevent, detect and respond to elder financial exploitation. A companion blog lists four ways that anyone can work to protect older adults: find a local network and attend their meetings and activities, share what you learn with others, lend a hand and build your own network.


The CFPB report also lists two resources it designed for professionals who work with older adults.

“Protecting residents from financial exploitation — A manual for assisted living and nursing facilities” was written to help staff members of senior living and long-term care communities prevent, recognize and report elder financial exploitation. The guide includes a detailed list of warning signs of financial abuse and a model protocol that communities can use to protect older adults.

The CFPB also has created six “Managing Someone Else’s Money – Tips and templates for replication” for six states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Oregon and Virginia. The guide is designed to be adapted by professionals in the other 44 states and the territories in 10 steps. Templates in Word format are provided to expedite the adaptation process.