APS puts a spotlight on financial exploitation in October

DFPS Media Specialists

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

AUSTIN - Adult Protective Services (APS) is urging everyone to make it their business to protect people who are elderly or have disabilities from financial exploitation.  More than 1,100 Texans were confirmed victims of financial exploitations last year.

Financial exploitation is when a relative, caretaker or anyone with an ongoing relationship, improperly or illegally uses the money or property of a person who is elderly or has a disability for personal benefit or profit.

In October, APS is teaming up with community partners to put on conferences and expos around the state to increase awareness and understanding of this serious crime, how it affects victims, and how to stop it.

"It's the ultimate betrayal to win the trust of a vulnerable adult and then steal their money or misuse their property," says Beth Engelking, DFPS assistant commissioner for Adult Protective Services. "We must all learn to recognize financial exploitation and do our part to stop this crime."

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.

If you suspect someone is being exploited, call 1-800-252-5400 or report it online at TxAbuseHotline.org.

Find out more at EveryonesBusiness.org, including tips on how Texans can protect themselves from financial exploitation and about events in your area.

APS Facts and Figures

  • APS is a division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Its mission is to protect people who are 65 or older or have disabilities from abuse, neglect, and exploitation by investigating, and providing or arranging for services to alleviate or prevent further maltreatment.
  • Texas has almost three million (2,954,572) residents who are 65 or older and 1.7 million (1,710,430) younger adults who have a disability.
  • 48,392 Texans who lived at home were confirmed victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation last year.  In most cases, a member of the victim's family was responsible.
  • About half of victims were 65 or older and half were younger adults with a disability.
  • Last year, APS confirmed that 1,045 people were victims of financial exploitation while living in their homes. Another 74 adults were financially exploited in institutions.

More Information