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Types of financial abuse

Understanding financial abuse

Financial abuse can come in the form of Elder, Family/Domestic, Disability and/or Cultural abuse.



There are many forms of elder financial abuse, but there is a common thread. In general, it is an effort by unscrupulous person/s to extract money and resources through a variety of devious means from elderly persons.

  • Deceit
  • Forgery
  • Coercion through bullying and intimidation
  • Undue influence for personal gain
  • Misuse of a person's Power of Attorney or Administration instructions

In general, all involve improper use of an older person’s assets.



Financial abuse of a disabled person is any act involving the misuse of the person’s money or property. This is done without their full knowledge, consent or understanding.

This can be against an individual with a physical and/or mental disability. It deprives them of vital financial resources for their personal needs.



Family/Domestic financial abuse may occur when a person uses money as a means to gain power and control over their partner.

This type of abuse is when a person may be in an abusive relationship, where the other party:

  • Restricts access to bank accounts.
  • Takes control of all finances (e.g. being in charge of all household income and paying the other person an allowance).
  • Forces a person to sign documents or make false declarations.
  • Denies a person entitlement to joint property.

This is not an exhaustive list.

This type of financial abuse can be subtle where a person may gradually take control over finances. Family/Domestic financial abuse can also include violence and threatening behaviour.



People, where English is their second language, including First Nation's people, are at an increased risk of financial abuse.

Due to the difficulties in gaining information about banking services and products, they often trust others to help. This can be a trusted family member or friend, who may assist them in interpreting information.

This can result in the person being subjected to financial abuse without their full understanding of the circumstances.

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