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How to detect and prevent financial abuse


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 and telephone 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.

Ways financial abuse can occur:

  1. Convincing someone to buy a product or give away money
  2. Stealing money or possessions
  3. Misuse of bank or credit cards
  4. Misuse of joint banking accounts
  5. Forging a signature on cheques or legal documents
  6. Misuse of a power of attorney

What are the warning signs of financial abuse?

  1. Receiving notices that bills aren’t being paid, and notices of eviction or discontinued utility services arrive
  2. Unexplained account withdrawals or transfers between bank accounts
  3. Bank statements are no longer received by mail
  4. Signatures on cheques or other documents look suspicious
  5. Strange or implausible explanations about certain financial transactions
  6. Money or valuables go missing
  7. Credit card offers from companies you aren’t affiliated with arrive in the mail (this could signal someone is using your address to apply for loans and credit cards)

Who do I call if I suspect financial abuse?

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:

If you or anyone is immediate danger, call 911.


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ATB InvestU Team
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