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

2. Protect yourself from financial abuse

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself from financial abuse:

  • make sure information about your financial accounts and legal documents is up to date
  • protect your financial and by keeping it in a safe place, like a drawer with a lock or a safety deposit box
  • don't share your passwords, Personal Information Numbers (PINs), bank cards, or credit cards
  • do financial transactions yourself if you can, for example, you can use online and phone services if it's difficult for you to leave your home
  • set up direct deposit for pension cheques and have payments for your bills and expenses come from your bank account or credit card so you can monitor transactions more easily

It's also important to keep a record of any money that you give away and make a note of whether it's a loan or a gift.

If you open a joint bank account, be very careful and make sure that you understand that the other person:

  • has access to the money in the account, and
  • can make deposits or withdrawals without your permission.

Living with someone

Think carefully before deciding to have someone move in with you or before you move in with someone else.

For example, ask yourself questions like:

  • How much rent will I pay or how much will the other person pay?
  • How much will we each pay for food and utilities?
  • What happens if repairs or maintenance needs to be done? How will we share the cost?
  • What are my responsibilities? For example, which bills do I pay and what cleaning do I do?

Other steps

Other things you can do include:

  • getting your own legal advice before you sign documents for major decisions, like selling or mortgaging your home or other property
  • asking someone you trust to look over contracts and other papers before you sign them
  • trying to keep in touch with friends and family so you don't become isolated
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