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2012-10-11 digital edition

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2012-10-11 / Community News

If it’s Not Your Money - It’s a Crime!

Do you know the signs of financial exploitation?

Texas Adult Protective Services (APS) reminds all Texans to make it their business to protect people who are elderly or have disabilities from financial exploitation.

APS, a division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), confirmed 1,187 victims of exploitation in Texas last year. It’s likely many more cases went unreported.

Financial exploitation is when a caretaker, family member, 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.

Each October, APS teams with community partners for financial exploitation expos, conferences, and other events to increase understanding of this serious crime.

“This crime is devastating to victims both financially and emotionally,” said Beth Engelking, DFPS assistant commissioner for Adult Protective Services. “We want everyone to watch out for signs of financial exploitation.”

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 exploitation, call 1-800-252-5400 and file a report so APS and law enforcement can investigate. You can also report 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.

Facts and Figures

* APS is a division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. APS’ 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 2.6 million residents who are 65 or older and another two million younger adults with a disability.

*APS confirmed that 58,068 Texans living at home were victims of abuse, or exploitation last year.

*Nearly 40 percent of those who committed the abuse were the adult children of the victims.

*About half of victims were 65 or older.

*APS investigations found that 1,118 adults living at home and 69 adults living in institutions were victims of financial exploitation last year. (1,187)

* APS referred 6,862 allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation to law enforcement last year.

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