Loved ones needed to help protect against fraud.
Family members, friends and clergy reported 32% of the cases of financial exploitation against an elderly person in Tennessee last year according to the Adult Protective Services (APS) division of the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS).
The vast majority, 61%, are reported by professionals like doctors and social workers.
“Protecting older adults from abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation is something we all need to be concerned about,” said TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. “For us to truly build a thriving Tennessee that includes the financial health and well-being of our seniors, we need to have everyone in the community serve as gatekeepers and report any suspicious activity to APS.”
October is Fraud and Financial Awareness Month and TDHS wants families and friends to be aware of how to spot signs of elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
Common signs include:
- Sudden changes in the person’s financial condition
- Financial activity the person couldn’t have done, such as an ATM withdrawal when the account holder is bedridden
- Large withdrawals from the person’s bank account
- No food in the home, the utilities are cut off and the home is not maintained
- The person is unaware of their finances
- Unpaid bills
- A drastic change in the person’s quality of life
There are also steps that can be taken to prevent fraud and financial exploitation.
- Add your phone number to the Do Not Call list and remove your address from mailing lists
- Be aware of common scams by checking listings through consumer report resources
Report suspected abuse of the elderly and vulnerable adults?
Call toll free 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366) or report suspected abuse online at this secure website: https://reportadultabuse.dhs.tn.gov/
The National Adult Protective Services Association reports that 1 in 20 older adults have indicated some form of perceived financial mistreatment in the recent past.
Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices.