TEXAS (KAMR/KCIT) — The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said October is Elderly Financial Exploitation Awareness Month and it wants to make families aware of those that could potentially steal or misuse an elderly person’s money or property.
DFPS said Adult Protective Services (APS), a program of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), validated 1,028 cases of exploitation in Texas fiscal year 2020, compared to 950 cases in 2019 and 929 cases in 2018.
“I think communities and financial institutions are more aware of exploitation than ever before and are more protective, but we can’t relax,” said Sue Ellen Stalder, Adult Protective Services Community Engagement Specialist.
According to DFPS, financial exploitation is when a relative, caretaker (or anyone with an ongoing relationship) improperly or illegally uses the money or property of someone who is elderly or has a disability for personal benefit or profit.
DFPS said the warning signs of financial exploitation include:
- Sudden changes in bank accounts or banking practices.
- Unexplained or unexpected withdrawal of large sums of money.
- Adding names to someone’s bank signature card.
- Unfamiliar people accompanying bank customers to withdraw large sums.
- Unauthorized withdrawal of funds using ATM cards or sudden transfers of assets.
- Sudden changes in financial documents.
- Unpaid bills despite having enough money.
- Previously uninvolved relatives who suddenly claim rights to a person’s affairs and possessions.
- Abuse of power of attorney.
DFPS said if you see signs of financial exploitation, call the Texas Abuse Hotline (800-252-5400) or report online at TxAbuseHotline.org.
APS is putting a spotlight on stopping financial exploitation and other important issues for the elderly from now until the end of the month. More information and resources are available here.