Everyone has the right to financial independence.
Financial abuse is where someone in a position of trust interferes in someone else’s ability to use or maintain their finances. It could be a partner, but it can also come from other relationships such as family members, friends and carers. It’s always a crime but not always prosecuted.
It can begin innocently enough when someone asks to see the supermarket till receipt or accidentally opens a bank statement. This can escalate over time as more control is placed on your finances.
Being able to spot what you think may be financial abuse is the first step in finding help and support to make things better either for you, or for a loved one. Taking these first steps is very brave. It may seem scary, but you don’t have to do this alone.
If it’s happening to you, a loved one or someone you know help is on hand to take positive steps.Visit Hourglass for further help and support
Signs of financial abuse or harm
Spotting financial abuse isn’t always easy, here are some potential indicators which can help you if you think it’s happening to you or a loved one:
- Signatures on cheques and documents that don’t resemble the older person’s signature, or signed when the older person can’t write
- Sudden changes in bank accounts, including unexplained withdrawals of large sums of money by someone accompanying the older person
- Adding 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 a caregiver alone having total control