There are many types of abuse, but one form that is not given as much attention is financial abuse. Financial abuse is when one person has financial control of another and withholds money from the victim of the abuse. In particular, financial abuse of the elderly is common.
Elder abuse of any sort has many serious consequences, including a shortened life span. According to WomensHealth.gov, it is important to take action to protect the credit and finances of the victim if at all possible.
What is financial abuse?
Financial abuse of elders can take many different forms. Usually, the perpetrator is somebody who is close in some way to the victim. It is possible for an abuser to be somebody related to the victim, or possible for an associated person like a hired caretaker to be the financial abuser.
Financial abuse may come in the form of the abuser withholding money from the victim, or engaging in manipulation to coerce the victim to purchase things or hand out money. Another common form of financial abuse is manipulating the target into changing a will or trust.
What can I do?
If you suspect your loved one is being financially abused, it is important to try and talk to your loved one about it. If the elder in question is still legally competent, they need to agree before you can take any action against the abuser. Good first steps are to freeze all credit accounts and then talk to a financial expert if possible. You must understand the scope of the financial abuse in order to take appropriate action.