How to spot financial elder abuse

As part of Elder Abuse Awareness Week the New Zealand Bankers’ Association is encouraging people to look out for financial elder abuse.

“Financial elder abuse is about the illegal or improper use of older people’s money, property and other assets. It’s particularly nasty because it preys on people’s trust, and often exploits family and other close relationships,” said New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Kirk Hope.

Examples of financial elder abuse include:

  • Unauthorised taking of money or possessions
  • Misuse of power of attorney
  • Failure to repay loans
  • Use of home and assets without contributing to costs
    Scams that rely on establishing a relationship with the older person with the intention of exploiting their savings and/or assets.

The Bankers’ Association has in place voluntary guidelines to help banks meet the needs of older and disabled customers.

“Among other things, the guide encourages banks to provide training to staff so they recognise signs of potential financial abuse while being sensitive to customers’ wishes,” Hope said.