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Local nonprofit to host free, educational event on elder fraud

Teresa Gingles
Better At Last hosts educational event in Waco, TX.

Better At Last, a Waco nonprofit, will host the "Protect Yourself!" conference on June 7 at the Waco Convention Center. Older adults and their caregivers can learn how to protect themselves against fraud, scams and abuse.

Teresa Gingles has always had a desire to help older adults. Growing up, she keenly watched as her parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents aged and what that meant for their health.

Teresa Gingles: “Having that front row seat really just launched me into this need to serve, period.”

Gingles is a physical therapist and board-certified geriatric specialist for Baylor Scott & White. She’s been working with older adults for over 13 years and about 18 months ago her desire to serve led to the creation of a new local nonprofit, Better At Last.

Teresa Gingles: “Starting a nonprofit was not on my radar at all. But there was this need and I thought, man, well, let's let's see what happens. And it has just been an amazing ride.”

The mission of Better At Last is to change the culture surrounding aging. To empower older adults to live a healthy and purposeful life.

Teresa Gingles: “Because when our older adults are doing well, you think about all the things that they volunteer for that support our community. If our older adults are doing better and we're all doing better and then our community gets stronger as well.”

Part of ensuring that older adults are living well is tackling the issue of elder fraud. According to the FBI, older Americans are disproportionately impacted by scams and fraud. These can include tech support spams, personal data breaches, romance scams, investment scams and more.

The average victim of elder fraud lost over $33,000 due to these crimes in 2023.

Teresa Gingles: “This is a rapidly growing problem, billions of dollars a year are lost to fraud abuse and scams that can’t be recovered. Once the money is gone, a lot of times it's gone. And so, as we are looking at this national problem and we look at the population that is targeted the most, it’s our older adults.”

To address the issue, Better At Last is hosting the “Protect Yourself!” conference at the Waco Convention Center on June 7. It will feature over 20 keynote speakers, including elder fraud experts and local law enforcement.

There will also be breakout sessions for more in-depth discussions with banks, law firms, local law enforcement, Baylor Law School and the Texas Bankers Association.

The conference is meant to teach older adults how to protect themselves against fraud while also making community connections.

Teresa Gingles: “The reason that we need these kinds of conferences or symposiums or workshops or personal connections is because of the relationships. I am convinced that the strongest thing that we can do for our older adults is stay connected, that if you have a question or if you have a concern that you have somebody in the community that you can trust.”

The “Protect Yourself!” conference runs from 8 a.m. to noon and is free for adults ages 55 and older and their caregivers. You can register for the event at

Teresa Gingles: “Get connected. If you find yourself in these situations, I really encourage you, call your bank if you have any questions and then reach out to local law enforcement and they can point you in the right direction as well.”