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

1. Learn about financial abuse

Financial abuse can be hard to recognize. It often takes place over a long period of time, and is often not just one event.

Financial abuse happens when someone steals from you or takes advantage of you financially. The person doing this is often someone you know and trust.

Who commits financial abuse

Your abuser could be a family member or someone else who you know. For example, a family member might:

  • pressure you to sell your house so they can get their inheritance early
  • live with you and not pay rent or household expenses
  • manage your finances, but not give you access to your bank accounts or information about what they're doing with your money
  • steal your pension cheques or other belongings
  • borrow money and not pay it back
  • misuse your

Other examples could involve people you know, such as:

  • a who pressures you to make or change your will, or sign documents you don't understand
  • a neighbour who bullies you to buy alcohol or drugs for them
  • a landlord who steals your pension cheques
  • people you hire to do work around your home or property who don't do what you pay them for

What abusers will do

Abusers act in many different ways. They might lie to you about needing money, intimidate or threaten you, or make promises and not keep them. They might try to make you feel guilty because they're taking care of you.

Abusers will usually try to isolate you from other people. And they'll often stop you from getting advice about important decisions like selling your house or changing your will.

They may try to convince you that they're the only one who cares about your well-being or who will help you.

Abuse by strangers

Older adults are often targeted for and scams. You may be a target if you're:

  • at home during the day
  • have a trusting nature
  • don't have anyone to ask for a second opinion

The most common frauds and scams are:

  • identity theft, where someone steals your and applies for a credit card or a loan pretending to be you
  • credit and debit card fraud, where someone uses your card to buy things or withdraw money
  • email and online scams, where someone tells you there's a problem with your income tax, asks you to help them, or offers you a prize that does not exist
  • phone and door-to-door sales scams, where someone pressures you to buy something you don't need or donate to a charity that does not exist
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