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DFPS Press Release

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

It’s Everyone’s Business Campaign Targets Financial Exploitation

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Patrick Crimmins
(512) 438-3112-Office
(512) 787-5090—Cell
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 16, 2009

 

Adult Protective Services (APS), a division of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), is partnering with banks and other groups to educate the public about financial exploitation of the elderly and people with disabilities.

This month, financial institutions across Texas are hanging APS posters in offices to educate their employees on the signs of exploitation, such as:

  • Sudden changes in bank accounts or banking practices.
  • Unexplained or unexpected withdrawals 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 withdrawals of funds using an ATM card or sudden transfers of assets.
  • Sudden changes in financial document.
  • Unpaid bills despite having adequate money.
  • Sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming rights to a person’s affairs and possessions.
  • Abuse of power of attorney.

APS is also distributing displays and brochures that provide tips on how Texans can protect themselves from exploitation and some clear examples of exploitation. And, APS is holding conferences in many communities to further understanding of financial exploitation and build on the efforts of APS, law enforcement agencies, and prosecutors to combat it.

“Everyone needs to understand that taking the money of an elderly parent or a person with disabilities is not okay,” says APS Assistant Commissioner Beth Engelking. “We want people to realize that if it’s not their money, it’s a crime. If you suspect exploitation, call 1-800-252-5400 and file a report so APS and law enforcement can investigate.”

In addition, APS urges all Texans who know someone with a disability or who is elderly to be on the lookout for signs of financial exploitation, because stopping abuse and exploitation is truly everyone’s business.

“There is an old Spanish proverb that I think illustrates why everyone has a stake in stopping elder abuse,” said Engelking. “As you see yourself, I once saw myself. As you see me now, you will be seen. At some point we all need help and that is why financial exploitation is everyone's business."

APS’ It’s Everyone’s Business campaign is a statewide effort to educate Texans about the pervasive problem of abuse, neglect and exploitation of the elderly and adults with disabilities, and to encourage citizens to get involved in making a positive difference.

It’s Everyone’s Businessfeatures two main themes:

  • Adult abuse prevention.
  • Financial exploitation prevention.

An Adult Abuse Prevention Kit, containing 31-pages of resources in English and Spanish, are also distributed each year to hospitals, faith-based organizations, libraries, home health agencies, senior centers, Area Agencies on Aging, and other community partners. The kit, as well as the new financial exploitation poster and brochure, are available online at www.everyonesbusiness.org

It’s Everyone’s Business is a grassroots campaign based on working in partnership with dozens of local agencies and service organizations across Texas.                                            

APS Facts and Figures

  • 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 necessary to alleviate or prevent further maltreatment.
  • Texas has more than 2.4 million residents 65 or older. Nearly one out of four people in Texas either have a disability or are older than 65.
  • Last year, APS conducted 68,683 investigations and confirmed more than 48,382 cases of abuse, neglect, or exploitation involving adults living at home.
  • Last year APS confirmed 1,772 cases of exploitation.
  • APS serves those 65 or older, and those 18 to 64 with a disabling condition.

 

                                                                                                                                                                   
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