AMARILLO, Texas — October is Elderly Financial Exploitation Awareness Month. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is reminding residence to look out for and help older adults in our communities.

Adult Protective Services, a Texas DFPS program, investigated 13,554 cases of exploitation across the state in 2021. This included 502 cases in the Texas Panhandle area.

“It’s difficult working with someone who has been exploited by a family member,” said Sue Ellen Stalder, Adult Protective Services Community Engagement Specialist in the press release.

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

APS is putting a spotlight on stopping financial exploitation and other important issues for the elderly from now until the end of the month.

These warning signs of financial exploitation in their press release:

  • 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.
(Flyer provided in a press release from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services)

If you see signs of financial exploitation, call the Texas Abuse Hotline (800-252-5400) or report online at TxAbuseHotline.org.

DFPS said you can find out more about this issue at EveryonesBusiness.org.