Minnesota Senate passes enhanced protections for seniors against financial exploitation

On Monday, the Minnesota Senate unanimously passed legislation that enhances protections for senior citizens against financial exploitation. The bill, Senate File 2466, permits certain financial services providers to temporarily delay transactions where financial exploitation is suspected and to disclose that information to authorities.

“One in five Minnesotans over the age of 65 have been the victims of financial fraud or exploitation – and in many cases, they are unaware what is happening. Before they realize what is happening – or before authorities have had the chance to step in – the perpetrator has taken their money and moved on to another victim. This legislation offers an additional layer of protection for seniors against this reprehensible behavior,” said Senator Karin Housley (R-St. Marys Point), the author of the bill. “There are few things as disgusting as exploiting an elderly or vulnerable person. This bill gives banks and credit unions the latitude to act if they suspect something is wrong. Hopefully, we can stop fraud in its tracks.”

The legislation allows banks, credit unions, and other financial services providers to delay a transaction if they have a reasonable belief it would result in the financial exploitation of a vulnerable person or an individual 65 years of age or older, and permits them to disclose their suspicion to the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center or other third parties. The bill also provides individuals and financial services providers immunity from liability for disclosing that information in good faith. This action would not freeze the victim’s entire account; other transactions could continue to take place while the pending transaction is investigated, and all delays or holds would expire when there is a reasonable belief the transaction will not result in financial exploitation or 15 days after the attempted transaction. The bill mirrors legislation passed in 2018 that gave broker-dealers the authority to freeze a transaction if they suspect fraud involving senior citizens.

“This is another step toward making Minnesota a great place to grow old. I am hopeful the House will pass this bill and Governor Walz will sign it into law,” said Senator Housley.

Senator Karin Housley represents Forest Lake, Stillwater, and the surrounding St. Croix Valley in the Minnesota Senate. She serves as chairwoman of the Senate Family Care and Aging Committee and is an assistant majority leader.