Facts on financial abuse of seniors

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Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse against seniors and frequently goes unreported. Financial abuse includes all forms of manipulation or exploitation of someone else’s money. It includes using older adults’ money or property dishonestly, or failing to use older adults’ assets for their own welfare.

Learn the signs

Review this list for possible signs of financial abuse:

  • I have felt pressured into giving away money or purchasing things that I do not want or need.
  • Someone has taken my money or cashed my cheques without my permission.
  • Someone frequently borrows money from me and doesn't repay it.
  • I have noticed withdrawals from my bank account or charges to my credit card that I cannot explain.
  • I have received overdue bills that I thought were paid.
  • Someone has prevented me from making my own financial decisions or accessing my money.
  • Someone has not managed my finances as we agreed.
  • I have felt forced into changing my will or signing legal documents that I don't fully understand.
  • I have felt pressured into sharing my home or car without fair compensation.

Protect yourself

Review this list for ways to help protect yourself:

  • Keep your financial and personal information in a safe place.
  • Keep track of your accounts and legal documents.
  • Keep a record of financial transactions and changes to legal documents.
  • Read contracts and other documents carefully.
  • Tell someone if you think you are experiencing financial abuse: a friend, family member, health care or social services professional, legal or financial advisor, or member of your faith community or local authorities.
  • For major decisions involving your home or other property, get your own professional legal advice before signing any documents.
  • Keep in touch with a variety of friends and family so you don't become isolated.

Reach out

If you think you are experiencing financial abuse, ask for help. If you don't have a family member or close friend who can help you, ask your bank or credit union, your local seniors centre, or even your care provider or health care professional where you can go for advice and help.

Additional fact sheets

For more information and a list of resources in your province or territory, call 1-800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) or visit Canada.ca/Seniors.

Information contained in this fact sheet is sourced from the Public Health Agency of Canada, National Clearing House on Family Violence website. Note that these are not legal definitions but are intended to help people working with older adults to recognize abuse of seniors.

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