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Financial Abuse

 

Financial Abuse - How to recognise and report it

 

What is financial abuse?

Financial abuse includes: 

  • Deliberate theft of money or property
  • Fraud or confidence tricks
  • Pressure from someone to sign over a will or inheritance
  • Someone taking your pension, benefits or savings for their own use
  • Someone borrowing money and never giving it back.

 

Who may financially abuse adults?

It could be:

 

  • Someone deliberately targeting vulnerable people.
  • A carer, family member, friend or legal representative with legitimate access to your income or savings who mis-spends the monies.
  • Someone who is responsible for your money but fails to use it for your basic needs.

 Tips to help protecting yourself from financial abuse

 Do not:

  • Give anyone your PIN number for cash/ payment cards
  • Give anyone blank cheques.
  •  Keep large sums of cash in your home or with you.
  • Throw papers showing personal details, such as your name, address or date of birth, in the bin. If possible shred these items.
  • Sign up for store or credit cards if you do not understand the charges.
  • Borrow money from loan companies without understanding the charges.
  • Leave strangers alone in your home.

 Do:

  • Pay bills by Direct Debit
  • Pay by written cheque and always ask for receipts when someone else shops for you.
  • Check bank statements thoroughly and keep for at least 12 months.
  • Theft from bank accounts often follows a pattern.
  • Keep all personal documents in a lockable file.
  • Ensure that anyone who has access to your money is legally appointed to do so.

 

Beware of doorstep callers.

Some key points to remember:

  • Avoid traders /sales persons without landline telephone numbers or office details
  • Do not sign or agree to anything on your doorstep.
  • Ask callers to provide identification and agree a time when they can call again. This gives you time to check they are who they say they are.
  • Be very wary of trades people offering to carry out work on your home such as roof repairs, hedge trimming or drive cleaning. Once you have agreed the work you may find that the price doubles and they may refuse to leave until you pay in cash or accompany you to the bank.

Scams

Fraudsters often target older people and others in vulnerable situations.

They may offer bogus prize draws or miracle cures or be fake psychics. If it sounds too good to be true then it almost certainly will be!

 

Protect others – some signs of financial abuse

  • A sudden deterioration in someone’s living circumstances
  • A person’s belongings are sold
  • A carer or family member’s lifestyle improves
  • Sudden changes made to a will or financial documents
  • An unexplained inability to pay bills or a shortage of money
  • Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts, post offices or building societies
  • A withdrawal of contact with family, friends and wider social network
  • Financial documents disappearing.

Other advice

Action on Elder Abuse Helpline

Freephone * 0808 8088 141

*Calls to a free phone number from a mobile may be charged.

The Office of the Public Guardian

0845 3302900

Trading Standards

Consumer Direct 0845 040506

tradingstandards@bournemouth.gov.uk|

To report financial abuse or find out more contact

Bournemouth Care Direct (see contact panel)

or

Dorset Police 01202 222222

Related Information

 

Postal Address Bournemouth Care Direct,
Customer Services Centre,
St Stephens Road, Bournemouth, Dorset
BH2 6EB
Telephone Number 01202 454979
Fax Number 01202 454975
Email address Care Direct
Out of Hours Telephone Number

Out of Hours:
01202 657279