“I always go back to thinking that if it were my grandmother or grandfather, I would want them to be made aware of this,” said Glen Pierson, Vice President/Financial Sales Manager of Malvern Bank, National Association.
Pierson is talking about financial exploitation and fraud aimed at seniors, and he and his bank recognized the need to do something about it.
The idea for the seminars arose after a Malvern Bank client fell victim to financial fraud and the Bank recognized the need to do more.
“This person did not ask any questions and sent out $700 to a P.O. Box in order to get a big prize,” he said. “Sadly, it was too late to place a stop payment on the check, and there was no recourse.”
With what he calls Senior Safe Seminars, Pierson and his teammates visit senior communities to warn, educate, and provide resources to this group that commonly falls victim to fraudulent mail, e-mail, and telephone solicitations. The presentations are seen as part of Malvern Bank’s duty to give back, which is the hallmark of a true community bank.
“The community bank model allows for our staff to get involved in projects like this and to give back to the communities we serve,” said CEO Anthony C. Weagley. “I applaud Glen in identifying a need our clients and the community have and putting together a seminar to address it. This shows forward thinking and willingness to go beyond expectations.”
Malvern’s Senior Safe seminars were created to cover key types of fraud to which seniors are especially vulnerable:
- “Phishing” schemes, when personal information is requested in e-mails
- Sweepstakes and lottery fraud
- Medicare and Medicaid scams, such as when a caller tells someone that his/her Part B must be paid out of pocket to a certain address
- Charity scams from organizations that are not legitimate charities
- Travel scams by so-called travel agencies that are here today and gone tomorrow
- The “Grandchild in Danger” scam, when a person is urged to send money so their stranded or captive grandchild or other relative can return home.
Finally, seniors are informed of which groups to contact if they think they have become victims.
To date, Senior Safe Seminars have been given at several local Sunrise Senior Living establishments, with plans to bring the presentation to other senior centers in the area. The seminar formula will continue to be modified with hopes of reaching more seniors in the future and staying relevant to new threats to senior citizens.
“This is something we are hoping to do as a continuing thing and return every three to six months. The people at the facilities have been very grateful that we are helping them.” said Pierson.