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DFPS Press Release

"If It's Not Your Money - It's a Crime!"

Fighting financial exploitation of the elderly is everyone's business

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

Monday, May 2, 2011

Adult Protective Services (APS), a division of the Texas 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.

APS investigations confirmed 1,544 victims of financial exploitation in Texas last year, although there are likely many more that went unreported.

That is why, each October, APS embarks on a community-based campaign that includes financial exploitation conferences, expos, and other events to sheds the light on this serious and underreported crime. APS is also handing out brochures and meeting with banks and local organizations that can help intervene to protect exploitation victims all year long.

"Financial exploitation remains a serious threat to elderly Texans," said Beth Engelking, DFPS assistant commissioner for Adult Protective Services.

"The elderly and adults with disabilities are sometimes exploited by their own the adult children, other relatives, paid caregivers, or others who win their confidence. It's critical that everyone understands that if it's not your money, it's financial exploitation, and it's a crime," said Engelking.

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.

APS 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

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

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