ABILENE, Texas -

Abilenians have already lost more than $135,000 in fraud charges – and there have already been 19 reported cases of elderly financial abuse this year alone, police say.

Abilene police, adult protective services and First Financial Bank announced Monday that a combined effort is being made to combat the escalating problems.

First Financial Bank currently has an educational training session for all employees to help them to pick up on signs and recognize financial fraud.

According to First Financial Bank, the number of reported cases is rising. Last year in Abilene, there were 59 reported cases with $70,000 in losses, a jump from the 2012 numbers of 34 cases with $240,000 in losses.

In 2013, the nation lost $2.9 billion as a result of fraud.

But those numbers are just of reported cases. Most victims aren’t willing to step forward because they are embarrassed.

“Many victims perceive that they can earn money by giving money,” Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge said.

In addition, Standridge said it’s easier to catch the fraud before it happens. That is why, he said, it is key to be aware of the warning signs.

Such warnings include:

*- Sudden changes in bank accounts or banking practices

*- Unexplained or unexpected withdrawal of large sums of money

*- Unfamiliar people accompanying bank customers to withdraw large sums

*- Unpaid bills despite having enough money

Police say if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.