Scammers are endemic in Texas and elsewhere. Many people have fallen for them. Recently the legislature enacted a new law to help elderly Texans fooled by scammers.
Few cases are extreme of that of an elderly woman in Dallas County who decided to sell her home and wire the $200,000 proceeds to a mysterious bank account, the Texas Tribune reported. She was prompted to do so by a scammer who she never met.
The report said the man claimed to be communicating with her from Nigeria. He promised to marry the woman who ended up homeless.
Although such cases appear to be extreme, Julie Krawczyk, the director of the non-profit Elder Financial Safety Center in Dallas County said she sees cases like this all the time.
Victims of scammers like the Dallas County woman who lost her home may benefit from additional protection under a new law intended to help Texans fooled by scammers.
The measure signed in 2017 by Gov. Greg Abbott gives financial institutions additional authority to stop transactions prompted by scammers.
Under existing Texas law, some financial institutions would routinely halt transactions on behalf of elderly or disabled people they believed were the victims of fraud. The new law, House Bill 3921, gave banks and other financial institutions even more freedom to help.
They would receive immunity from litigation when they stopped transactions which later turned out to be legitimate or when fraudulent transactions sneak by undetected.
Tim Morstad, the advocacy director at AARP Texas, said the change could help older people by making it easier for banks to stop fraudulent transactions. He said the financial institutions feared lawsuits previously.
The new law directs financial institutions to set up policies that clarify reporting procedures for bank employees when they believe an elderly customer may be the victim of fraud.
The bill’s author was Rep. Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound. Parker, whose background is in business said:
“I am confident these preventative measures will provide more swift investigations by appropriate state agencies and positively impact the lives, and bank accounts, of thousands of susceptible elderly and disabled victims across the state.”
Scams are a gray area in Texas. Levels of concern about scammers are so high, there is a danger legitimate business initiatives may be labeled as scammers. If you are charged with a crime of this nature, please contact our Tarrant County criminal defense lawyers today.