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DFPS Press Release

“If It’s Not Your Money - It’s a Crime!”

It's Everyone's Business Campaign Takes Aim at Financial Exploitation

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Patrick Crimmins
(512) 438-3112-Office
(512) 787-5090-Cell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 4, 2010

Adult Protective Services (APS), a division of the Department of Family and Protective Services, is urging all Texans to make it their business to protect the elderly and people with disabilities from financial exploitation.

The agency identified 1,836 victims of financial exploitation in Texas last year, although there are likely many more that went unrecognized and unreported.

That is why, across Texas, APS is holding conferences, passing out brochures, and meeting with banks and other organizations that could intervene to protect exploitation victims. APS is also delivering exploitation information directly to its clients and, in some areas, holding events at community centers that combine fun activities like Bingo with presentations on exploitation.

“It is sad but sometimes the elderly are victimized by their own adult children," says Beth Engelking, DFPS assistant commissioner for Adult Protective Services. "Other times the exploiter is a paid caregiver or other family member. It is critical that everyone understands that if it’s not your money, it’s financial exploitation, and that's a crime."

Financial exploitation is the illegal or improper use of another person's money or property for personal profit or gain. 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 an elderly or disabled person’s bank signature card.
  • Unfamiliar people accompanying bank customers to withdraw large sums.
  • Unauthorized withdrawal of funds using ATM card 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.

Engelking urges all Texans who know someone with a disability or who is elderly to be on the lookout for signs of financial exploitation. If you suspect exploitation, call 1-800-252-5400 and file a report so APS and law enforcement can investigate. Or you can report online at TxAbuseHotline.org.

Stopping financial exploitation is one of the main themes of APS’ It’s Everyone’s Business campaign, which also educates Texans on other forms of adult abuse and neglect.

Find out more at EveryonesBusiness.org, including tips on how Texans can protect themselves from financial exploitation.

Facts and Figures

  • Texas has more than 2.4 million residents 65 or older. Another two million younger adults have a disability.
  • Last year, APS investigations confirmed that 50,936 Texans living at home and 1,329 Texans living in institutions were victim of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. (52,265)
  • About half of abuse, neglect, and exploitation victims were elderly and about half were younger adults with disabilities.
  • Last year, APS investigations found that 1700 adults living at home and 136 adults living in institutions were victims of financial exploitation. (1,836)
  • Last year, APS referred more than 8,000 allegations of financial exploitation to law enforcement.
  • The mission of APS is to protect the elderly and adults with disabilities from abuse, neglect, and exploitation by investigating, and providing or arranging for services to alleviate or prevent further maltreatment.
                                                                                                                                                                   
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