SouthWest Bank would like to take the opportunity to raise awareness of a vital issue affecting the elderly – financial exploitation.

Financial exploitation of adults who are elderly is an increasing problem and protecting them from becoming victims is everyone’s business.

Financial exploitation is the illegal or improper use of another person’s money or property for personal profit or gain.

Fraud by friends and family – new “best friends,” thieving caregivers, religious con artists, and financial abuse by family members—these are examples of exploitation and should be reported to Adult Protective Services at 1-800-252-5400.

How to protect yourself from becoming a victim:

  • Don’t sign blank checks allowing another person to fill in the amount.
  • Don’t leave money or valuables in plain view.
  • Be aware of scams (either by phone or through the mail). If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don’t give strangers access to your bank accounts.
  • Check your financial statements frequently and carefully for unauthorized withdrawals.
  • Don’t sign any document you have not completely read or fully understand.
  • Don’t be pressured by family members, friends, caregivers, or anyone to do anything you don’t want to do.
  • Avoid or hang up on strangers who want to take your money or know about your finances.
  • Say “No!” to anyone who presses you to make an immediate decision.
  • Count your change and check your receipts.
  • Don’t give your credit card number over the phone unless it’s a reputable company.
  • Be cautious if you don’t have experience in handling money.

If you are looking for more information on abuse, neglect, and exploitation of people who are elderly or have disabilities, contact the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Source: Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

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