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General Assembly creates elder financial abuse hotline

Legislation protecting elderly and vulnerable Tennesseans from financial exploitation was unanimously approved by the General Assembly recently.

House Bill 1248, sponsored by State Rep. Dennis Powers, R-Jacksboro, requires the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to create a system for financial institutions to report suspected cases of elder financial exploitation.

“We have an estimated $500 million (stolen) and more than 7,000 victims of elderly financial abuse reported in Tennessee every year,” Powers said. “This hotline will hopefully be able to intercept most of these terrible scams before they ever happen.”

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Once a report is received, a referral will be made to local law enforcement, district attorneys or Adult Protective Services who will take on the investigation. Data will be collected from the hotline and used to determine exactly how many attempts are made each year, where they take place, and how many investigators could be needed to handle the reports.

The legislation will now head to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk to be signed into law. The reporting platform must be in place by Oct. 1.

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