By Jeremy Olshan
The anxiety of Americans at or near retirement age, many scrambling to recover from the repeated blows the economy’s dealt to their investments and home’s value, makes them particularly susceptible to getting fleeced, says says Hubert “Skip” Humphrey III, just tapped to head up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new Office of Older Americans.
Various scams, deceptive counseling and “financial abuse,” cost Americans 62 and older an estimated $3 billion, says Humphrey, son of the former vice president, who has served as Minessota’s state attorney general and more recently a board member of AARP. “For most seniors, our retirement savings and our homes is all we have — if we want to keep a good standard of living we need to hang onto our assets,” he says.
The bureau, established by President Obama, has been somewhat stymied by Republican opposition to the confirmation of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, but Humphrey says he will not let that ongoing dispute prevent him from getting to work. “We’re going after financial abuse and scams targeting seniors in a number of ways,” he says. “We want to raise public awareness. A well informed consumer is the best protection against fraud and deceptive practices – especially if that knowledge is backed up by tough regulatory enforcement.”