I’m an older adult. How do I know if I’m being financially abused?

Financial abuse is the most common form of in Canada.

Financial abuse happens when someone steals from you or takes advantage of you financially. This can happen if someone:

  • steals your money, pension cheques, or personal belongings
  • lives with you and does not pay their fair share of the expenses
  • commits a crime by using your credit card or bank card without your permission or by signing cheques in your name
  • pressures you to do something like selling your personal belongings or giving away your money

It's also financial abuse if you have a and your attorney does not follow your wishes or act in  your best interests. For example, they might take your money for themselves.

Use CLEO's Responding to Elder Abuse Guided Pathway to learn how to recognize and prevent financial abuse.

Who are abusers

You might be abused by strangers. But elder abuse and neglect often happen with someone you know and trust.

For example, you could be abused by:

  • your family members
  • your spouse or partner
  • people you live with, your neighbours, or your landlord
  • caregivers, who are paid or not paid
  • service providers who you hire to do work around your home or property
  • people who you rely on for a place to live or for financial help
  • friends or other trusted people in your life

What puts you at risk

Older adults can be vulnerable to abuse after a life event, such as a health crisis or the death of someone close to them.

Abuse is not okay and it's not your fault.

Here are some situations that may put you at risk of being abused:

  • depending on someone for help with things like personal care, transportation, or your finances
  • having conflicts within your family
  • no longer making decisions for yourself
  • being isolated from your family, friends, and community
  • living in a remote community
  • having problems with addiction, depression, or other mental health issues
  • having trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions
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