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Financial abuse—know the signs

Posted on: June 13, 2017 | Author: Staff

Financial abuse means that someone’s money or assets are being misused, directly or indirectly by someone else.

This can be through fraud, trickery, theft or force. While it can often occur through online scams, it is not uncommon for the abuser to be known by the victim.

According to Crime Stoppers, 67 per cent of suspected financial abuse cases against seniors went unreported in 2015.

A person committing financial abuse might:

  • convince someone to buy a product or give away money
  • steal money or possessions
  • misuse bank or credit cards
  • misuse joint banking accounts
  • forge a signature on cheques or legal documents
  • misuse a power of attorney

Warning signs of financial abuse:

  • bills aren’t paid, notices of eviction or discontinued utility services arrive
  • unexplained account withdrawals or transfers between bank accounts
  • bank statements stop coming
  • things go missing
  • signatures on cheques or other documents look suspicious
  • strange or implausible explanations about financial transactions
  • credit offers arrive in the mail (could signal someone is using that address to apply for loans and credit cards)

Financial abuse can happen to anyone. However, elderly Albertans, dependent or disabled adults, new residents to Canada and children are typically at a higher risk.

ATB doesn’t always know if someone is at risk, and provincial legislation restricts the action we can take. So it’s important that you’re familiar with the details of financial abuse so you can help protect your friends and family.

For help or to learn more about financial abuse, we recommend these resources:

Other articles you may be interested in:

Joint bank accounts: balancing the benefits and the drawbacks
Power of Attorney: understanding the implications

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