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Warning signs of abuse

Elder abuse can be difficult to detect and often there is no obvious outward sign that you are being abused or exploited through a joint or third party account arrangement. Here are some warning signs which might trigger your suspicion that you are being financially exploited by somebody abusing the joint or third party account agreements and procedures:

  • Somebody has asked you to sign papers that you do not understand
  • Somebody has control or access to your money in your accounts without your full permission
  • You feel pressurised, intimidated or bullied into allowing somebody to have access to your money by opening a joint or third party account
  • You feel that you have lost control over your money and financial affairs
  • Your money is being spent by someone else for things other than your personal needs, and for things other than what you agreed to upon opening a joint or third party account
  • Someone appears to be over-helpful to you and suggests that he or she will bring you to the bank or building society to withdraw money

While it is important to be aware of the warning signals in order to protect yourself, it is also important to keep a protective eye on your neighbours, friends or relatives who may be experiencing exploitation by somebody abusing the joint or third party account agreements. Here are some warning signs you should be aware of as they may suggest that somebody you know is being abused in this way:

  • The person has become anxious and/or confused about their finances
  • The person has unmet physical or care needs, such as lack of food, medication, heating, electricity, clothing and so on
  • You may notice a change in shopping patterns or habits, such as not shopping for food/clothing as regularly as before
  • The person may suddenly and inexplicably be unable to pay their bills
  • There is a sudden and unexplained withdrawal from their accounts
  • There is a sudden and unexplained change in their banking or building society habits or patterns
  • The person may start declining invitations to social events they previously attended
  • The person may change their behaviour, for example they may stop inviting people to their house

Click here to find out what to do if you suspect abuse. 

 

 

University College Dublin (UCD)National Centre for the Protection of Older People (NCPOP)Health Services Executive (HSE)Older People's Empowerment Network (OPEN)
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