Advisors who worry about family members or outsiders victimizing their elder clients should welcome the recent alliance between the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA). The two entities are joining forces to protect seniors from the growing threat of elder financial abuse, which includes financial exploitation and securities fraud.

Financial abuse is considered to be the most common form of abuse to elders, costing its victims an estimated $2.6 billion a year, according to a recent study. And for every one case of abuse reported to authorities, an estimated four or more cases go unreported. The NASAA and NAPSA partnership aims to eliminate elder financial abuse by providing tools to identify and report financial exploitation.

“Elder financial abuse is becoming the crime of the 21st century as the growing senior population is increasingly targeted,” said Fred Joseph, NASAA president and Colorado Securities Commissioner. “Victims can see their life savings disappear with little opportunity to recover financial stability. Anyone can–and should–report abuse of an elderly person, whether it is physical or emotional abuse, neglect or financial exploitation. State securities regulators and adult protective services workers are natural partners because we operate at a local level in service to our elderly citizens, and are often the first responders to abuse or financial fraud.”

“A silent crime is taking its toll on America–silent because so many of these cases go unreported,” said Kathleen Quinn, executive director of NAPSA. “Studies show that family members and caregivers are the culprits in more than half of these cases, so unless an outside service provider reports the abuse it may go unpunished.”

NASAA and NAPSA will work together to inform and connect their members to share information and resources on how they can help prevent elder abuse in their jurisdictions. Financial advisors should also report suspected cases of elder abuse to the proper authorities.