Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
June 8, 2017

Contact Kathie Osterman, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9313 or

Stopping Elderly Financial Abuse Is DHHS’ Focus
for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15

Lincoln—Learning the signs of financial exploitation of older adults is the focus of Nebraska’s observance of the 12th annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, according to Department of Health and Human Services CEO Courtney Phillips.

“Nationwide, one in 20 older adults report financial mistreatment,” Phillips said. “To protect our loved ones and friends from losing some or all of their life savings, it’s important to know what signs to look for financial abuse and to report any suspicions immediately.”
Anyone who knows or even suspects elder abuse or neglect should call the DHHS Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-652-1999, she said. Adult Protective Services is charged with investigating cases to protect vulnerable adults from exploitation.
The signs of financial exploitation include:
  • Sudden changes in bank accounts or banking practices, such as unexplained withdrawals of large amounts of money or transfers between accounts;
  • Additional names on an older person’s bank cards or checking accounts;
  • Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents;
  • Disappearance of funds, possessions or medications from the home;
  • Unpaid bills or substandard medical care despite the availability of funds;
  • Evidence of the elder’s signature being forged;
  • The sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives or new friends;
  • Unnecessary services, goods or subscriptions;
  • Financial activity impossible for a bedridden senior such as an ATM withdrawal;
  • A caregiver expresses excessive interest in the amount of money spent on the older person;
  • Payment for unnecessary services; and
  • Reports from the individual of financial exploitation.

Frequently, abused elderly and vulnerable adults live in fear of retribution, lack of care, embarrassment and losing their place of residence, Phillips said. “Only one in 44 instances of abuse and neglect of older and vulnerable adults is reported. That’s why it’s up to everyone to watch for these signs to stem abuse and neglect as more and more of our population grows older.”

In 2016, a total of 3,000 calls about elder and vulnerable adult abuse and neglect to the Hotline were investigated by DHHS. Of those, more than 450 were substantiated. The number of reports investigated have been up every year since 2008.

A 30-minute program on NET World (NET2) will air June 15 at 6:30 p.m. featuring a local panel discussing financial exploitation of elderly and vulnerable adults. It will be repeated June 18 at 1 p.m., June 29 at 8 p.m., and July 2 at 2 p.m. The program is produced by the State Unit on Aging and the Developmental Disabilities Division at DHHS, AARP Nebraska, and Nebraska Bankers Association.

Local offices on aging provide materials and presentations on elder abuse and neglect. Their locations are: Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, Omaha; Blue Rivers Area Agency on Aging, Beatrice; Aging Partners, Lincoln; Midland Area Agency on Aging, Hastings; South Central Nebraska Area Agency on Aging, Kearney; West Central Nebraska Area Agency on Aging, North Platte; Aging Office of Western Nebraska, Scottsbluff; and Northeast Nebraska Area Agency on Aging, Norfolk.

Information about elder abuse and neglect is available from Adult Protective Services, domestic violence programs and local Area Agencies on Aging. Visit DHHS’ website at