Berkshire Bank Participates in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Recognized Day Brings Global Attention to Financial Abuse of Elders

Pittsfield, MA, - Berkshire Bank announces its participation in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, by hosting informational seminars at local senior centers and libraries across its footprint.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is acknowledged annually in June to spread awareness and increase understanding of the issues surrounding the physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders. Elder Financial Abuse is defined as a crime that deprives the resources and independence of elders through the misuse of assets and exploitation of financial control.

"According to the American Bankers Association, Americans 50 years and older control more than 70 percent of our nation's wealth, making them prime targets for exploitation," stated Tami Gunsch, EVP Retail Banking. "One of the first steps toward prevention is to have conversations with the important people in your life, including your banker, about how you can work together to safeguard your money and personal information."

To help older Americans and their caregivers protect themselves or their loved ones from financial abuse, Berkshire Bank is offering the following tips:

  • Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure your wishes are followed. Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial advisor about the best options for you.
  • Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters. Select someone who has your best interest at heart.
  • Never give personal information, including your Social Security Number, account number or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
  • Stay alert to common fraud schemes. Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery "winnings."
  • Never rush into a financial decision. Ask for details in writing and consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don't understand.
  • Check references and credentials before hiring anyone. Don't allow workers to have access to information about your finances and make sure to lock up your checkbook, account statements and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
  • Pay with checks and credit cards instead of cash to keep a paper trail.
  • You have the right not to be threatened or intimidated. If you believe you are a victim of elder financial abuse, contact your local Adult Protective Services, tell someone at your bank or call your local police for help.

Berkshire Bank is offering free educational seminars at various community centers across its footprint on June 15. These events will be facilitated by Bank employees, who will conduct the workshop through conducting an informational presentation. Berkshire Bank is passionate about shedding light on this topic and welcomes local senior centers to reach out to [email protected] to begin a partnership. Elder Abuse Awareness is a matter that needs attention every day, and our Bank employees look forward to continuing efforts to raise awareness throughout our communities.

About Berkshire Bank

Berkshire Hills Bancorp (NYSE: BHLB) is the parent of Berkshire Bank, America's Most Exciting Bank®. The Company, recognized for its entrepreneurial approach and distinctive culture, has $9.3 billion in assets and 97 full service branch offices in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey and Pennsylvania providing personal and business banking, insurance, and wealth management services. Berkshire Bank was named one of Massachusetts Most Charitable Companies in 2016 by the Boston Business Journal. The Company has a pending agreement to acquire Commerce Bancshares Corp., the parent company of Commerce Bank and Trust Company, a $2.2 billion bank with 16 branches in the Worcester, MA and Boston, MA markets. To learn more, visit, call 800-773-5601 or follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Contact: Heidi Higgins
Berkshire Bank
Phone: (413) 236-3756
E-Mail: [email protected]

Vanessa Pesa
Berkshire Bank
Phone: 4134471851
E-Mail: [email protected]