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Protecting yourself from financial abuse

Protecting yourself from financial abuse

Financial abuse is sadly very common amongst the elderly, so you need to be vigilant when it comes to your finances and assets.

You’ve worked hard all your life to be where you are and you don’t want to be left out of pocket by someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

What is financial abuse?

Financial abuse can include:
• Theft
• Fraud
• Exploitation of a financial nature
• Exerting pressure to change financial arrangements such as wills, powers of
attorney, inheritance or property
• Restricting access to money or possessions

Who commits financial fraud?

Anyone can potentially commit financial abuse. It could be a stranger, neighbour, friend, family member or partner.

How to protect yourself

Here are few tips to help you avoid financial abuse:

1. Don’t give complete financial control to any one person no matter how competent or trustworthy you think they are. Always have checks and balances.

2. Don’t share the password for your bank accounts or computer and don’t share the PIN for your bank cards.

3. Regularly check your bank accounts and credit cards for unauthorised transactions.

4. Don’t leave money or valuables lying around.

5. Be careful about unsolicited phone calls or emails asking for financial or private information. It is always best to verify that the call/email is legitimate. Offer to call them back using a number listed on official documentation or their website, or if it’s an email, check that the email address is legitimate.

6. Don’t let unsolicited visitors into your house even if they claim to be from a reputable business or government agency.

7. If someone wants you to sign documentation of a financial nature, give yourself the time to read it fully and where possible get a second opinion from a trusted person or advisor.

8. If you are getting work or jobs done, only use reputable businesses, who have been independently checked.

What to do if you think you are a victim of financial abuse

If you think you have been a victim of financial abuse then contact one or more of the following organisations:

• Your bank or financial institution
• The police on 101 or if it’s an emergency 999
• Hourglass (the UK Charity focused on all form of abuse including financial for older people) on 0808 808 8141
• The financial Ombudsman on 0800 023 4567 (if your complaint relates to a business)

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