More Vulnerable Adults Becoming Victims of Financial Crimes
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is issuing a warning about the growing problem of financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.
The department’s Adult Protective Services (APS) division received more than 4,000 complaints of financial exploitation in fiscal year 2017-2018. That’s more than the year prior and an increase of 33% from state fiscal year 2015-2016.
APS is charged with investigating reports of abuse, neglect (including self-neglect), and/or financial exploitation of vulnerable adults all across the state. October is Fraud and Financial Exploitation Awareness Month in Tennessee and in recognition, TDHS is encouraging families and friends to know how to spot financial exploitation.
Common signs include:
· Sudden changes in the person’s financial condition or quality of life.
· 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.
Two years ago, TDHS led efforts to establish a Coordinated Community Response (CCR) involving more than 20 state and non-profit agencies that offer protective services for vulnerable adults. This CCR has improved communications and investigations involving victims of financial exploitation and abuse.
“The Coordinated Community Response we’re building ensures stakeholders work together to protect our vulnerable adults,” said TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. “We help build a thriving Tennessee when we raise awareness and take action to protect our seniors and adults who are unable to protect themselves from fraud and financial exploitation.”
Call toll free 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366) or report suspected abuse of the elderly and vulnerable adults online at this secure website: https://reportadultabuse.dhs.tn.gov/
There are also steps that can be taken to prevent fraud and financial exploitation. Add your phone number to the Do Not Call list, remove your address from mailing lists, and be aware of common scams by checking listings through consumer report resources.
Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices.
CONTACT: Sky Arnold