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Protect Texas Adults from Financial Exploitation

What Is Financial Exploitation?

Financial exploitation of older adults or adults with disabilities is very common. It means that a caretaker, family member, or person with an ongoing relationship with the vulnerable adult has used or attempted to use the adult's financial resources. This includes using an older adult's assets without informed consent, under false pretenses, or through intimidation or manipulation. It can include the loss of property, money, income, or benefits or the misuse of the vulnerable adult's identity to open credit accounts or to access existing accounts. These losses can have long-lasting consequences.

Financial exploitation can be hard to spot since the victim may not realize it's happening. Older adults or adults with disabilities are at a higher risk of exploitation because they depend on others.

APS helps vulnerable adults who face abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

Signs of Financial Exploitation

Banking Red Flags

  • Unpaid bills, or unusual bank account activity, including small or large withdrawals.
  • Names added to a bank account or signature card.
  • Frequent checks made out to cash.
  • Requesting an ATM card or withdrawing money with an ATM card when this has never been done before.
  • Missing belongings or checks.
  • Money being moved from one account to another, especially if the client has not done so in the past.
  • Sudden electronic access to bank accounts, when the client is not computer savvy or may not even have access to a computer.
  • A client being brought in to a bank to make changes to his or her account such as adding a family member who has suddenly inserted him or herself into the client's life, or a non-family member bringing the client in to the bank to open, close, or transfer funds for no apparent reason.
Texas law requires that suspected cases of abuse be reported.

Documentation Red Flags

  • A client naming a new power of attorney, especially if this person has recently inserted him or herself into the client's life.
  • Forged documents.
  • Abuse of powers of attorney.
  • A victim signing documents such as wills or loans but seems incapable of understanding them.
  • Changing names on a will, bank account, life insurance policy, or title to a house to someone who has recently shown interest in the client or has recently inserted him or herself into the client's life.
  • Transfer of property from the client to someone else, instead of leaving the property to transfer on death.
APS strives to give their clients the best possible support to help keep them safe.

Relative or Caregiver Red Flags

  • Relatives suddenly claiming rights to a person's affairs and property.
  • Family members who want access or feel entitled to the client's assets prior to the client's death.
  • Caretakers or family members who are more concerned about a client's assets than the client's health or ability to meet his or her financial needs for life.
  • A caregiver receiving frequent gifts.
APS helps vulnerable adults age 65 or older.

Preventing Financial Exploitation

Financial exploitation is especially harmful because the consequences can be long-lasting and devastating. It can result in a person losing his or her home or being unable to pay for essentials such as shelter (home or specialized care facility), food, utilities, and medical care, and becoming ineligible for Medicaid due to transfer of assets in the "look-back period". Financial exploitation can lead to depression, anxiety, health issues, legal issues, relationship difficulties, and even homelessness.

Read Larry's Story of Financial Exploitation

Act quickly if you suspect financial exploitation and file a report by calling 1-800-252-5400.

Learn more about when to report

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