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Financial abuse

Adults who are elderly or who have a disability, mental health or other health problems may find it harder to protect their money and property. Unfortunately, these vulnerable adults are more likely to be financially abused than others.

What is financial abuse?

Financial abuse takes many forms. It may be having your money, food or things taken away from you by someone or being made to buy things for other people or being pressured into paying for services you don't want or need.

You may be forced by someone to change your Will when you don't want to, or you might have your home taken over by other people against your wishes.

What are the signs of financial abuse?

You may be the victim of financial abuse if you are unable to pay your bills suddenly and for no good reason or if there are sudden and unexplained withdrawals of money from your accounts.

Perhaps family members and other people are suddenly interested in your money and property, or someone managing your money for you is secretive or uncooperative about how they are using your money or your personal things are going missing from your home.

Tips for preventing financial abuse

Financial abuse can be avoided if you are careful. For example, you should take your time before agreeing to any financial arrangements. Before you sign anything or give any money away, get some advice. Ask other family members, friends or people around you what they think and explore your options.

To avoid being the victim of a scam at home, don’t open the door to people you don’t trust. Put the door bar or chain on before opening the door and perhaps get a peephole so you can see who it is at the door.

To stop thieves you should keep your money, your bank details and papers out of sight. Try not to have big sums of money in your home.

If someone comes to the door always ask to see their identity badge (ID). You can call their organisation to check their ID badge is real. All utility companies should have password schemes; you can call Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or the utility company they say they are from to check out the person’s ID.

You should not talk to salespeople about anything personal over the telephone. You can register with the Telephone Preference Service to avoid getting sales phone calls by calling them at 0845 070 0707.

You can ask someone for advice about setting up a power of attorney so that someone you trust can manage your property and financial affairs for you if you are unable to do so.

Managing your own care budget

You may manage your own care budget and employ your own care staff. There is lots of information about how to avoid the risk of financial abuse and other kinds of abuse that might be involved with this.

I’m worried about someone. What should I do?

If you are worried that you or someone else might be experiencing financial abuse, please get in touch. Don’t delay! We are here to help you.

You can help put a stop to it by getting in touch. If there is risk of immediate harm, contact the emergency services on 999.

Otherwise, contact the Islington Access and Advice Service (Adult Social Services) on 020 7527 2299 or email access.service@islington.gov.uk. Our Minicom number is 020 7527 6475.

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