GuardianCard’s In Safe Hands Report
- What is financial abuse
- What problems does it cause
- The impact of Covid-19
- Regional breakdown
- Monetary losses
- Concerns about parent’s finances
- Financial abuse warning triggers
What is financial abuse?
Financial abuse of the elderly can include having money or property stolen, being defrauded, being put under pressure in relation to money or other property or having money or property misused.
It can be as simple as a carer, relative or neighbour stealing from an elderly person by adding items for themselves when doing their shopping for them, or,in more serious cases, people can be tricked into losing their entire life savings or pressured into changing their will or selling their home.
We surveyed 2,000 over 70s and found that one in four admitted to being a victim of financial abuse and more than half feared they are at greater risk of theft, scams and fraud due to Covid-19.
The pandemic, financial pressures and social isolation have created a ‘perfect storm’ – with older people now even more dependent on carers, family and friends and at greater risk of financial abuse from loved ones, rogue traders and professional scammers.
What our research found…
We also looked at the problem online and analysed data from 13,000 posts across Twitter, Reddit and online forums.
Understandably, financial scamming is a highly emotional topic of conversation online, with women most notably expressing feelings such as anger and sadness.
Almost 3,000 posts mentioned a sum of money that had either been successfully defrauded or attempted.
The most commonly cited figures were sums of £100 or less, although the eighth most common figure quoted was £1,000. Within the top 25, the highest figure quoted was £10,000.
The average was £9,093 and the total combined sum of figures quoted was in excess of £26.7 million.
What do our Guardians have to say?
Conversations around finances can be awkward and uncomfortable and can sometimes be avoided altogether. The sad reality is that as we get older, we become more vulnerable to these issues.
Financial abuse warning triggers
- Signatures on cheques and documents that do not resemble the older person’s signature, or signed when the older person cannot write
- Sudden changes in bank accounts, including unexplained withdrawals of large sums of money by a person accompanying the older person
- The inclusion of additional names on an older person’s bank account
- Abrupt changes to or the sudden establishment of wills
- The sudden appearance of previously absent relatives claiming their rights to an older person’s affairs or possessions
- Someone moving into an older person’s house and living rent free, without agreement or under duress
- The unexplained sudden transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family
- Misuse of power of attorney, deputyship, appointeeship or other legal authority
- Numerous unpaid bills, or overdue rent, when someone else is supposed to be paying the bills
- Lack of amenities, such as TV, personal grooming items, appropriate clothing, that the older person should be able to afford
- The unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions such as art, silverware, or jewellery
- Deliberate isolation of an older person from friends and family, resulting in the caregiver alone having total control
“It’s a good idea, it’s a great idea actually. It made me think of my parents immediately”Gethin Jones discussing GuardianCard on Morning Live
To sum up…
Financial abuse is happening and it’s happening now. Our mission is to create a simple and safe solution to this problem, and to help the elderly with managing their finances whilst retaining their independence.
The results show that the number one fear for elders as they get older is falling victim to financial abuse (70%) and this trumped poor health (34%) and loss of independence (33%).
It’s our aim to stop this from happening, and raise awareness of the problem. Apply for your GuardianCard here today.