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Preventing Elder Abuse

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), the 2010 Census reported that 13% of the United States, or 40.3 million people, were 65 years or older.1 The elder population in the United States is growing at a rapid pace and expected to double to a projected 83.7 million by the year 2050.2 As this group grows, it’s important to remember the signs of financial abuse, neglect and exploitation.
 
American National Bank of Texas is committed to preventing, responding and detecting Vulnerable Person Financial Exploitation. And we hope our customers will join us in this cause.
 
Older consumers are often attractive targets for financial abuse because they may have substantial assets or equity in their homes.  In addition, they typically have a regular source of income such as Social Security or a pension. They may also be especially vulnerable due to isolation, cognitive decline, physical disability, or other health problems according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
 
Financial abuse is considered an act of mistreatment in which an abuser coercively controls someone else’s finances. The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services details the following signs of financial elder abuse.3

  • - Frequent, expensive gifts from individual to caregiver
  • - Missing personal belongings, papers, or credit cards
  • - Numerous unpaid bills
  • - A recent will when an individual seems incapable of writing a will
  • - Caregiver’s name added to a bank account(s)
  • - Individual unaware of own monthly income
  • - Individual signs on a loan
  • - Frequent checks made out to “cash”
  • - Unusual activity in bank account
  • - Irregularities on tax return
  • - Individual unaware of reason for appointment with banker or attorney
  • - Caregiver’s refusal to spend money on individual
  • - Signatures on checks or legal documents that do not resemble individual’s


Texas law says anyone who thinks a child, or person 65 years or older, or an adult with disabilities is being abused, neglected, or exploited must report it to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). A person who reports abuse in good faith is immune from civil or criminal liability. DFPS keeps the name of the person making the report confidential. Anyone who does not report suspected abuse can be held liable for a misdemeanor or felony. Time frames for investigating reports are based on the severity of the allegations. Reporting suspected abuse makes it possible for a family to get help.
Report abuse by calling 1.800.252.5400.  If you suspect that the person is in immediate danger call 911.

For additional information on Vulnerable Person Financial Exploitation, please visit:
 
https://ncea.acl.gov/​
http://www.dads.state.tx.us/
http://preventelderabuse.org/
https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Everyones_Business/default.asp
 
1 U.S. Dept. of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau. (2011). The Older Population: 2010.
2 U.S. Dept. of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau. (2014). An Aging Nation: The Older Population in the United States.
3 CDS Option Employer Manual: Chapter 5 https://www.dads.state.tx.us/services/cds/employer/chapter5.html

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