Financial abuse

Financial or material abuse is any theft or misuse of a person’s money, property or resources by a person in a position of, or expectation of, trust to a vulnerable person. Common forms of financial abuse are misuse by others of a vulnerable adult’s state benefits or undue pressure to change wills. Financial/material abuse may also be perpetrated by one vulnerable adult upon another.

Typical examples of financial or material abuse:

  • Theft
  • Misuse of money, including state benefits, property, possessions and insurance
  • Gaining money or possession by threat, persuasion, or exploitation
  • Blocking access to assets
  • Extortion
  • Falsifying records
  • Coerced property transfer

Possible indicators of financial or material abuse:

  • Pension is cashed but the individual has no money, particularly when it is unusual for that person to spend money without assistance
  • Unexplained or inappropriate withdrawals from bank accounts
  • Unpaid bills or overdue rent when someone is supposed to be undertaking this responsibility for paying bills
  • Enduring Power of Attorney given or recent changes or creation of a Will when the person is incapable of making such decisions
  • The individual requires residential/nursing care but is prevented by relatives from entering a residential/nursing home because the client owns their own property and there are concerns about the inevitable depletion of their estate
  • Deliberate isolation by carer (informal/formal of a vulnerable adult) from friends or family resulting in carers having total control
  • The unexplained disappearance of financial documents, e.g. building society books, and bank statements, payments or order books.
  • Signatures on cheques which do not resemble the vulnerable adult’s signature or signed when this person cannot write
  • Unusual concern by carer that an excessive amount of money is being expended on the care of the vulnerable adult
  • Lack of amenities such as TV, appropriate clothing, personal grooming items that the vulnerable adult can well afford
  • Missing personal belongings such as silverware, jewellery, or other valuable item.
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