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  • Florida Trend

DeSantis signs law designed to protect seniors from financial scams

TALLAHASSEE — A measure (SB 556) that will allow banks to delay withdrawing money if employees believe that seniors or “vulnerable” adults could be getting financially exploited has been signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Supporters said during this year’s legislative session that the bill was needed because of widespread scams that involve seniors withdrawing money from their bank accounts.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, includes a finding that “many persons in this state, because of age or disability, are at increased risk of financial exploitation and loss of their assets, funds, investments, and investment accounts. The Legislature further finds that specified adults in this state are at a statistically higher risk of being targeted for financial exploitation, regardless of diminished capacity or other disability, because of their accumulation of substantial assets and wealth compared to younger age groups.”

The law, which the governor signed Tuesday and takes effect Jan. 1, allows banks to delay disbursing money if certain steps are taken.

It will require banks to notify in writing all people authorized to transact business on the accounts and any “trusted contact” listed on the accounts, with the exception of people suspected of exploitation.

It also provides legal immunity to banks if they act in “good faith” in delaying the money’s withdrawal.

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