Financial abuse occurs when someone manipulates your financial decision-making, or misuses or controls your money, financial resources, or property or assets without your knowledge or consent.
Financial abuse can happen to anyone, at any time, no matter their age, gender or sexual orientation. People who are dependent on family members and other people for their day-to-day care or social contact can be particularly vulnerable to financial abuse.
A ‘financial abuser’ can be someone you hardly know or someone you have known all your life. They could be family members, friends, acquaintances or strangers who befriend you. They may also be professionals or caregivers employed to help you.
There can be many different reasons why financial abuse starts. For example:
- A person may feel a sense of entitlement to your money.
- Someone in position of trust, such as an attorney or person appointed to manage your affairs, may not be well-equipped for that role.
- It may be a gradual change, where someone initially managing your money responsibly begins to take advantage opportunistically.
It’s important to remember that there are no circumstances in which financial abuse is acceptable, so if you think this might be happening to you, don’t be afraid to get help.