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New Protections in Place for Vulnerable Adults as Financial Exploitation Prevention Act Goes into Effect Sunday

LANSING - Vulnerable adults in Michigan will have new protections in place as the Financial Exploitation Prevention Act takes effect tomorrow, September 26. The statute enacts new requirements on financial institutions to ensure they have training and procedures in-place to better recognize the signs of financial exploitation and take action to protect those who are unable to protect themselves from abuse, neglect, or exploitation because of a mental or physical impairment or because of advanced age.

The Act is the result of collaborative work led by the Department of Attorney General's Elder Abuse Task Force, the Michigan Bankers Association, the Michigan Credit Union League, the Prosecuting Attorney's Association of Michigan, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan State Police, Michigan Sheriffs' Association and Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police.

"Victims of financial exploitation do not usually know they are being taken advantage of, which is why it is so important that our financial instructions have the tools and training they need to help keep vulnerable individuals safe,said Governor Gretchen Whitmer"This Act increases protections for Michiganders from unscrupulous individuals trying to exploit them. I am proud of the partnership between several government agencies and private sector entities to ensure Michiganders are protected from fraud."

"I continue to be proud of the important change our Elder Abuse Task Force is achieving through its diligent work," said Attorney General Dana Nessel. "This Act is the result of prioritizing our vulnerable adults through consumer protection measures and education, and financial institutions will play a vital role in preventing exploitation. The partnership between financial institutions, prosecutors, Adult Protective Services, and law enforcement will result in earlier detection and successful prosecution of those that prey on our vulnerable citizens."

"With the appropriate training and procedures in place, Michigan's financial institutions will be better equipped to identify and report exploitation to protect our state's seniors and other vulnerable adults," said DIFS Director Anita Fox. "Our state's financial institutions work hard every day for the communities they serve, and this Act gives them additional tools to help recognize and stop fraud."

Signed into law on December 30, 2020 by Governor Whitmer, the Financial Exploitation Prevention Act requires financial institutions to develop and implement policies, training, and procedures for identifying and reporting the exploitation of their customers. It also allows financial institutions to freeze customer transactions or assets under certain circumstances; provides immunity from criminal, civil, or administrative liability to financial institutions for actions taken in good faith under the Act; and provides for the powers and duties of certain governmental officers and entities to enforce the Act.

The Department of Attorney General offers an educational presentation on the Act and elder financial exploitation prevention to interested groups. Eligible groups include but are not limited to elder abuse coalitions, area agencies on aging, law enforcement, and financial institution professionals.

Groups interested in attending a presentation are asked to email with the following information

  • subject line that states "FEPA Presentation Request"; 
  • a brief description of the professional background of potential attendees; 
  • the number of people likely to attend; 
  • potential dates and times that will work well for the group (flexibility is encouraged); and
  • The format of the presentation (virtual presentations are recommended). 

If the group is below 50 attendees, the Department of Attorney General asks, to preserve time and resources, that the interested group allow another group to join their event upon request.

In addition to working to implement this Act, the EATF worked with a bipartisan group of state legislators to announce additional legislation in June, which would implement fundamental reforms impacting guardians and conservators.

Those bills have received hearings in both the House and Senate. If passed, the bills will achieve the remainder of the Task Force's first initiatives.

The Elder Abuse Task Force, which Nessel launched shortly after taking office, consists of more than 55 different organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sections - all working together to combat elder abuse.

The Department of Attorney General provides a library of resources for consumers to review anytime on a variety of topics.

Your connection to consumer protection is just a click or phone call away. Consumer complaints can be filed online at the Attorney General's website, or by calling 877-765-8388.