In the winter of 2013, Assiniboine Credit Union joined the Focus on Financial Abuse Advisory Committee (FOFA), a group comprised of credit unions and partners committed to implementing efforts in detecting, preventing and reporting financial abuse of older adults.
With credit unions accounting for 40% of the market share in the financial services industry in Manitoba, the goal of this initiative is to provide education within communities to promote awareness and prevention of financial abuse.
What is Financial Abuse of Older Adults?
Financial abuse occurs when someone tries to take or control what belongs to another person for their own benefit, at the expense of the other.
- Forgery, misuse or theft of money or possessions (often through unusual transactions, made in unusual locations, or large loans or major purchases that are inconsistent with the member’s stage of life or habits).
- Improper use of guardianship or Power of Attorney (POA), or opening a joint account as a readily accessible means by which to perpetrate abuse against an older individual.
- Use of coercion or deception to surrender finances or property (abuse by strangers typically involves scams).
Recognizing Symptoms of Possible Financial Abuse:
- Threatening, coercing, putting undue pressure or forcing an older person into selling or handing over an asset or property, or signing a document , will or POA.
- Abusing or neglecting POA to manage an older person’s finances.
- Stealing goods from an older person, i.e. jewellery, credit cards, cash, electronic equipment, food.
- Using an older person’s banking and financial documents without authorization.
- Managing the finances of a competent older person without permission.
- Misuse of an older person’s money or possessions (e.g. vehicle, phone, Internet connection).
- Taking an older person to a general practitioner other than their own, for an assessment of decision-making capacity, in order to access a POA, particularly if the doctor speaks a language different from the older person.
- Appropriating the proceeds of the sale of an older person’s home with the promise of providing future accommodation or care and then not providing it.
- Pressuring an older person to relinquish (hand over) an anticipated inheritance or for a gift or a loan.
- Incurring bills for which an older person is responsible.
Where to go for help:
To get help or request more information, please contact:
Seniors Abuse Support Line:
1.888.896.7183 (toll free, 24 hours, confidential)
How to help increase public awareness:
The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse has led World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) since 2006.