Elder abuse involving reverse mortgages is high on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s radar screen, according to senior legal advocates.

“It’s a very significant issue for us,” said Nora Dowd Eisenhower, assistant director of the CFPB Office of Older Americans Policy.

Eisenhower was among the senior legal advocates who spoke at the American Bar Association’s National Aging and Law Conference on Thursday.

She said more seniors are in danger of losing their homes from reverse mortgage loans as the average age seniors obtain them has dropped from 73 in the 1990s to almost 62.

One concern is reverse mortgage ads that tout the loans as “free money,” but fail to mention that borrowers are obligated to pay real estate taxes and homeowners insurance, she said. Seniors with reverse mortgages have had their homes seized for failure to make these payments.

Reverse mortgage companies are also encouraging couples to remove the younger spouse from the mortgage so they qualify for the loan or get more money, speakers said. The older an applicant is for a reverse mortgage, the shorter time the borrower is expected to live, which makes the payback for the lender sooner.

But the quicker payback could lead to the younger spouse becoming homeless when the property is sold, speakers said.

Eisenhower noted that debt collectors and pension advance schemes are also high on the bureau’s priority list.

One out of every five complaints the CFPB receives from seniors is about debt collection, she said.