Brochure: Financial Abuse of Seniors - It's Time to Face the Reality

No one should ever pressure, force or trick you into giving away your money. This brochure will explain some of the signs of financial abuse and how you can prevent it from happening to you or someone you know.

Financial abuse

Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse against seniors and frequently goes unreported.

Some types of financial abuse are very clearly cases of theft or fraud. Others are more difficult to identify, such as friends or family members pressuring, forcing or tricking you into lending or giving them money or possessions.

The result, however, can be devastating-emotionally as well as financially.

Some examples of financial abuse could include

A person you trust:

Why is financial abuse so common?

Sadly, financial abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse against seniors in Canada. Seniors often know and trust the person mistreating them-a family member, friend, neighbour, relative, care provider or support worker. The abuser may depend on the senior for money, food, a place to live.

Who are the abusers?

It is not uncommon for seniors to be financially abused by someone they know or love. When this is the case, some do not look for help because of a sense of loyalty.

What can I do about it?

There is nothing shameful or embarrassing about telling someone that you are being abused by a person you trust. You might be afraid that the abuser will fight back, or that you will have to move from your home or community.

Help is available. Find out more by calling 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) or by visiting Canada.ca/Seniors.

Review this list for possible signs of financial abuse:

Learn the signs

Protect yourself

Remember that your money and property belong to you. They are not your family's or anyone else's.

Stories of financial abuse

Cheque scenario

My son told me if I didn't sign a cheque for him that he would stop bringing my grandchildren to visit. I didn't want to lose contact with my family, so I signed it and gave it to him. Now he is asking for more.

You have a right to control how your money is being spent. If a situation makes you uncomfortable, trust your instincts-take a step back and think before you make any financial decisions.

What you should know:

Bank card fraud scenario

My daughter sometimes asks to borrow my bank card to do my banking for me. Last month when my statement came, I noticed there were purchases from designer clothing stores that I don't remember making. When I asked my daughter about it she just laughed and said I was getting forgetful, but she's wearing new clothes.

Fraud committed by a family member is still fraud. If someone is piling up debt in your name, you could end up having to pay it all back. It could also hurt your credit rating.

What you should know:

Investment fraud scenario

My neighbour said he knew about an opportunity that would double my money if I invested right away. so I gave him a lump sum. That was a year ago, and I haven't received a cent. When I ask him about the investment, he doesn't answer my questions.

After retirement, you may depend more on your investment income. If someone tells you about an opportunity to make a lot of money quickly with no risk, ask questions. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

What you should know:

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.

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.

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