What is financial abuse
The abuser may put pressure on another person to make decisions about money, property, wills or inheritance that is against their normal wishes.
It can be a single act or an action that is repeated and it can be considered a crime.
Unfortunately, the abuser could be anyone, including a relative, friend or carer. Staff working for organisations can also be abusers and some, such as rogue traders, deliberately target vulnerable people.
Signs of financial abuse
You may see one or several of signs of abuse.
These could be when someone:
- doesn't have as much money as they usually do;
- is unable to pay for reasonable living costs, bills or health checks;
- has unexplained amounts of money being removed from their bank account, either regular small amounts or large one-off amounts; or
- has unexplained withdrawals from their bank accounts straight after being paid benefits or pensions.
Other signs include:
- a decline in the person's living conditions;
- the person is getting into debt;
- the person's belongings are being sold or have been removed;
- a bank statement showing money being spent in unexpected ways for the person in question (e.g. money spent or withdrawn in a different part of the country to where they normally live or money being spent on items the person would not normally buy);
- paperwork in the person's home which seems unusual, for example in relation loans, credit cards or property;
- paperwork relating to the person's finances that suddenly goes missing;
- a sudden change to who deals with a person's finances; or
- reluctance of any individual dealing with the person's finances to pay for health checks or replacements to clothes or furniture.
You may also notice other signs which possibly can signal abuse, such as behaviour that is out of character for the person, the person withdrawing from family and friends, or they may have a new friendship that appears unusually close.
What to do if you suspect someone is being financially abused
If you know someone is being financially abused, or think they may be, contact us.