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Elderly Financial Exploitation Is Increasing

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The Texas Department of Adult Protective Services (APS) recommended Tuesday morning that community members, aged 65 and older, keep their private information, like social security numbers, passwords, maiden names and bank account information, in a locked drawer or somewhere safe.

Cases of elderly financial exploitation have jumped in the last three years.

There have been 1,028 cases of exploitation reported in the Texas fiscal year 2020, according to the Texas Department of Adult Protective Services. It’s an issue all across the U.S.

Everything Lubbock’s article entitled, “October is Elderly Financial Exploitation Awareness Month, how can you stay safe?” explains that the elderly may not check their bank accounts as frequently because they may not be as tech-savvy. Seniors should monitor their bank statements or ask their banks for help navigating their online accounts.

Sue Ellen Stalder, the Community Engagement Specialist for APS with the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) in Texas, told KLBK News that elderly financial exploitation happens more often than people think.

“By the nature of our clients, some don’t realize for a long time that they are being exploited because the folks who are exploiting them, they’re trusted individuals of the client and family members,” Stalder stated. “Or caregivers that come into their home.”

A common occurrence of financial abuse is when grandchildren visit their grandparents and ask if they can go to the store to get groceries for them. The grandparent sends the grandchildren with a debit card, and while the kids may get the items requested—they may also buy other things for themselves.

Similarly, abuse happens when a family member goes to the ATM and withdraws cash from the elder’s account.

If a senior believes they’re being exploited or know of someone they think might be, they should contact local law enforcement. If you are their trusted family member or have been named on their power of attorney or trust as a co-manager or successor, see if they can set up a meeting with their estate planning attorney to get assistance and protection if needed.

Reference: Everything Lubbock (Oct. 5, 2021) “October is Elderly Financial Exploitation Awareness Month, how can you stay safe?”