St. Louis, MO, September 9, 2014 – The Oasis Institute, Wells Fargo Advisors and The Gatesworth have teamed up with the Federal Trade Commission as part of the FTC’s new nationwide initiative to combat frauds and scams that target older adults, called Pass It On. Unlike other fraud awareness programs, Pass It On actively enlists older adults as part of the solution in the effort to recognize and report frauds and scams.
Speakers at the press conference at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, September 9, at The Gatesworth, One McKnight Place, University City, MO, included C Steven Baker, Director of the Midwest Regional Office of the FTC, Cindy Brinkley, Chairman of the Oasis Institute Board, Ronald Long, Director, Elder Services, Wells Fargo Advisors, and David Smith, Co-Owner, The Gatesworth.
“Older consumers don’t want to be labeled as vulnerable victims. They want to pass on what they know about scams – not only to their peers, but to younger generations, as well,” said Cindy Brinkley, Chairman of the Oasis Institute, a national nonprofit organization that offers lifelong learning, health programs and volunteer engagement for older adults in 49 cities. “Giving them good information to share will have a significant impact because it gives them the power to take more responsibility for the safety and security of themselves and the people they care about.”
To demonstrate how older adults are key to the success of the Pass It On initiative, a team of residents at The Gatesworth have volunteered to actively seek opportunities to share materials and information with other older adults across the Greater St. Louis community by initiating conversations among their own social networks and at community events. “Our residents are excited about the opportunity to become a ‘fraud squad’ and do what they can to help,” said David Smith of The Gatesworth.
“People 65 and older have lots of life experience that enables them to recognize and avoid scams,” said the FTC’s Steve Baker. “They also have a social network with which to share the life lessons they’ve learned. This campaign seeks to tap into their life experiences and their trusted place in the community.”
The FTC says that fraudsters target consumers of all ages – but they know that older adults are likely to have bigger nest eggs, which makes them even more attractive. And, the consumer protection agency says, when older adults lose money to a scam – regardless of whether it involves prizes and lotteries, imposters or identity theft – it’s usually more difficult for them to recoup their losses, making the consequences even more devastating.
“We are pleased to support the FTC’s Pass It On program by reaching out to our clients and communities through our nationwide network of branch offices, where more than 15,000 financial advisors represent our firm to their clients, neighbors and friends,” said Ronald Long, head of the Wells Fargo Advisors Elder Client Initiatives Team. “Wells Fargo Advisors is very concerned about protecting our clients and the establishment of our new Elder Client Initiatives Team earlier this year will help us do that more effectively,” he said. Based in St. Louis, the unit was formed to respond to a growing number of reports by the firm’s Financial Advisors of suspected elder financial abuse and fraud, and to help advisors raise awareness of and prevent such crimes.
Pass It On reinforces what adults already know about some of today’s most common scams, and it gives them a short and straightforward way to share that knowledge with their family members, friends and communities. It focuses on their ability to be part of the solution instead of implying they’re part of the problem when it comes to scams.
The topics in the first generation of the Pass It On campaign focus on six issues often seen by older adults: imposter scams, identity theft, charity fraud, health care scams, paying too much, and “you’ve won” scams. Pass It On bookmarks and fact sheets are free, and available for bulk order or download at www.ftc.gov/bulkorder.
“We know Pass It On is a very new and different approach to presenting information. It focuses on the positive; and it makes the audience part of the solution rather than telling them they’re part of the problem. We’re really proud of it,” said Baker.
Oasis is partnering with Wells Fargo to offer classes in 2015 that will expand on the financial safety issues that Pass It On addresses. “We look forward to working with Wells Fargo Advisors to bring additional in-depth information to our audience on how they can protect themselves and the people they care about,” said Brinkley.
About the FTC
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics
The Oasis Institute is a national nonprofit organization that promotes successful aging through lifelong learning, health programs and volunteer engagement. The Oasis vision is to see that adults age 50-plus across the country have opportunities to pursue vibrant, healthy, productive and meaningful lives. Founded in 1982, Oasis has a national membership of 360,000 adults and serves 52,000 people annually through partnerships in 49 cities. The Oasis Institute in St. Louis is the national headquarters. For more information, visit oasisnet.org.
About Wells Fargo Advisors
With $1.4 trillion in client assets as of June 30, 2014, Wells Fargo Advisors provides investment advice and guidance to clients through 15,280 full-service financial advisors and 3,328 licensed bankers. This vast network of advisors, one of the nation’s largest, serves investors through locations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Wells Fargo Advisors is the trade name used by two separate registered broker-dealers and non-bank affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company: Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC and Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC (members SIPC). Statistics include other broker-dealers of Wells Fargo & Company. More information is available at www.wellsfargoadvisors.com.
About The Gatesworth
The Gatesworth at One McKnight Place provides an elegant residential lifestyle for senior living in a beautifully landscaped 12-acre community that includes a full continuum of care with McKnight Place Assisted Living and McKnight Place Extended Care located on the campus and Parc Provence located in nearby Creve Coeur. Since opening in 1988, The Gatesworth has won numerous local and national awards, including being named one of the "Nation's Top 10 Retirement Communities" by Forbes Magazine. Local owners have offices on-site and are always available to meet with residents and their families. More information is available at www.TheGatesworth.com.
For more information contact:
Robyn Frankel, Frankel Public Relations