Seniors: be wary of financial abuse

June 16, 2017 by Legion Magazine

Financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse in Canada. Financial abuse can happen at any time, but it will often start after a health crisis or after the death of a spouse, partner or close friend. People who are alone, lonely or in poor health are more vulnerable. They may find it harder to protect themselves from demands for money or other forms of financial abuse, or from physical and emotional abuse, which may occur at the same time.

Financial abuse can be difficult to identify or recognize. It is often a pattern rather than a single event, happening over a long period of time. The important thing about protecting yourself from financial abuse is to remember that your money and property belong to you. They are not your family’s or anyone else’s.

What is financial abuse?

Financial abuse is the illegal or unauthorized use of someone else’s money or property. It includes pressuring someone for money or property.

Some types of financial abuse are very clearly theft or fraud. For example, if someone cashes your pension cheque and keeps all or part of the money without your permission, or if they misuse a power of attorney to take money from your bank account for themselves, they are stealing from you.

Other examples of financial abuse are harder to name. These can include pressuring, forcing or tricking you into lending or giving away money, property or possessions, making or changing your will or power of attorney, and forcing you to sign legal or financial documents that you don’t understand.

Abusers are usually people who have a close connection to you. They use their connection to take advantage of you and force you to do what they want.

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, there are community resources you can use to stop the abuse.

Ask your bank or credit union, or even your doctor, where you can go for advice and help. You could also contact your local police.

More information on financial abuse can be found on the Government of Canada website: www.seniors.gc.ca.

 


Serving You: is written by Legion command service officers. To reach a service officer, call toll-free 1-877-534-4666, or consult a command website. 

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