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Financial abuse

Financial abuse is where someone in a position of trust interferes in an older person’s ability to acquire, use or maintain their finances. It is always a crime but not always prosecuted.

For example:

  • An abuser might exploit an older person by making demands for large transfers.

  • An abuser might control an older person's access to financial resources by refusing to let them access a bank account.

  • An abuser might sabotage an older person's ability to maintain financial security by building up debt in their name. 

 


 

What are the signs of financial abuse/harm?

  • Signatures on cheques and documents that do not resemble the older person’s signature, or signed when the older person cannot write.

  • Sudden changes in bank accounts, including unexplained withdrawals of large sums of money by a person accompanying the older person.

  • The inclusion of additional names on an older person’s bank account.

  • Abrupt changes to or the sudden establishment of wills.

  • The sudden appearance of previously absent relatives claiming their rights to an older person’s affairs or possessions.

  • Someone moving into an older person’s house and living rent free, without agreement or under duress. 

  • The unexplained sudden transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family.

  • Misuse of power of attorney, deputyship, appointeeship or other legal authority. 

  • Numerous unpaid bills, or overdue rent, when someone else is supposed to be paying the bills.

  • Lack of amenities, such as TV, personal grooming items, appropriate clothing, that the older person should be able to afford.

  • The unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions such as art, silverware, or jewellery.

  • Deliberate isolation of an older person from friends and family, resulting in the caregiver alone having total control.

 

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