Reports detail how to help older adults avoid financial fraud

September 9, 2016, Vitality Group

The world's population of older adults is expected to double to 2 billion by 2050. With these unprecedented demographic changes, the potential for fraud associated with cognitive decline is becoming a pressing issue in the financial services industry. Two reports published online today by the World Economic Forum (WEF) found that new technologies can assist in protecting older adults from fraud, and that financial services organizations are uniquely positioned to capitalize on gains in longevity using technology. The reports will be formally released tomorrow during a WEF meeting in Kobe, Japan that coincides with the G7 Kobe Health Ministers' Meeting.

Over the past two years, the WEF Global Agenda Council on Ageing and the Vitality Group convened aging experts from around the world to determine ways to improve the lives of and protect them from financial fraud. This group determined that new technologies will allow older adults to more easily and safely engage in banking and insurance activities. These include:

  • Transactions via wearable technologies, with identification occurring through biometrics, such as voice and facial recognition.
  • Geolocation information that can detect and prevent fraud by identifying consumers' locations.
  • Bank cards with directional arrows, high-contrast colors, and chip-and-signature security features for users who are unable to recall passcodes.

"Many of these technologies will help make financial transactions more secure for all consumers, but it is especially important that we protect older adults who may be experiencing cognitive decline," said Derek Yach, the chair of the WEF Global Agenda Council on Ageing, an author of both reports, and the chief health officer of Vitality. "As the world's population ages, the issue of cognitive decline will only become more important and I urge financial institutions to address it in a meaningful way."

Aging experts also determined that professionals who interact with older adults can play a key role in identifying those who may be experiencing cognitive decline, and should receive specialized training. Specifically:

  • Physicians should be trained to discuss cognitive decline with their patients, especially as it relates to their financial and personal affairs.
  • Financial services employees should be trained to help their clients plan for the possibility of future cognitive impairment. They should also be trained to recognize signs that a client is beginning to experience cognitive decline.

"For many, health can be the difference between a long life filled with opportunity and independence, and one of worry and financial challenges," said Surya Kolluri, an advisor to WEF Global Agenda Council on Ageing and the managing director of Policy and Market Planning Global Wealth and Retirement Solutions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "We hope this report will encourage financial institutions to be more aware of cognitive decline in older adults, and to take steps to help prepare clients for the unexpected when planning for later life."

The reports' authors note that additional research is needed to determine the most effective interventions for , and to be able to better predict patterns of financial abuse in older adults. The reports were funded by the World Economic Forum and Discovery/Vitality.

Explore further: The art of maintaining cognitive health as our brains age

Related Stories

The art of maintaining cognitive health as our brains age

April 27, 2015
Brains age, just like the rest of the body, even for those don't get neurological disease, according to an Institute of Medicine report released on April 14.

Psychology has important role in helping older Americans as they age

May 10, 2016
With more than 13 percent of Americans currently over age 65, and that proportion expected to grow in the coming decades, psychology has played and will continue to play an important part in helping seniors maintain their ...

Growing old can be risky business

October 20, 2015
Managing money can be difficult at any age. For older adults, changes in physical condition and life circumstances can lead to changes for the worse in financial behavior, putting their well-being in danger. Now those changes ...

Seniors less likely to buy longevity insurance despite value, study finds

September 8, 2016
As life expectancy for American seniors continues to rise, many aging Americans face problems outliving the amount of money they have saved for retirement. Annuities are one type of financial product that could help insure ...

How ageing affects the way we make decisions

June 17, 2016
Around the world, people are living longer than ever before, with a recent report from Public Health England revealing that the average 65-year-old man can expect to live another 19 years, while a 65-year-old woman has got ...

Recommended for you

Adding refined fiber to processed food could have negative health effects

October 19, 2018
Adding highly refined fiber to processed foods could have negative effects on human health, such as promoting liver cancer, according to a new study by researchers at Georgia State University and the University of Toledo.

Juul e-cigarettes pose addiction risk for young users, study finds

October 19, 2018
Teens and young adults who use Juul brand e-cigarettes are failing to recognize the product's addictive potential, despite using it more often than their peers who smoke conventional cigarettes, according to a new study by ...

Self-lubricating latex could boost condom use: study

October 17, 2018
A perpetually unctuous, self-lubricating latex developed by a team of scientists in Boston could boost the use of condoms, they reported Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

How healthy will we be in 2040?

October 17, 2018
A new scientific study of forecasts and alternative scenarios for life expectancy and major causes of death in 2040 shows all countries are likely to experience at least a slight increase in lifespans. In contrast, one scenario ...

Adequate consumption of 'longevity' vitamins could prolong healthy aging, nutrition scientist says

October 16, 2018
A detailed new review of nutritional science argues that most American diets are deficient in a key class of vitamins and minerals that play previously unrecognized roles in promoting longevity and in staving off chronic ...

Study finds evidence of intergenerational transmission of trauma among ex-POWs from the Civil War

October 16, 2018
A trio of researchers affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research has found evidence that suggests men who were traumatized while POWs during the U.S. Civil War transmitted that trauma to their offspring—many ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.