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Financial abuse: What seniors need to know

Financial abuse happens when someone you know tries to take or control your money or property for their own benefit. Financial abuse is unethical and in many cases it is also illegal. A financial abuser can be a spouse, adult child or other family member, caregiver, or friend. He or she may exploit your relationship to gain access to your finances or estate.

A trusted person may be a financial abuser if they:

  • Pressure you to give or lend them money, or to gain access to your financial information.
  • Misuse a power of attorney.
  • Force or trick you into signing a contract or will.
  • Take possessions or money from your home or bank account without permission.
  • Misuse your bank or credit cards.
  • Forge your signature on pension cheques or legal documents.
  • Refuse to return borrowed money or property.

How can you prevent it?

  • A joint account, power of attorney or other arrangement can help, but they should be used in your best interest. Make sure your wishes and expectations are clear.
  • If you can, handle financial transactions and estate matters yourself.
    Say “no” when someone pressures you for money—even family members.
  • Make sure you understand every document you sign.
For more information, visit the Alberta Elder Abuse Network online at www.albertaelderabuse.ca or call toll free 310.1818.

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