It’s apparent that for various reasons (fear of reprisal, fear of not being believed, pride, declining cognitive function and isolation of the elderly etc) that unfortunately, many financial abuse victims do not come forward for their experiences to be documented or investigated.

As a result, even the available data will in my view, represent an understatement of the full extent of what is and has been happening to our elderly population.

The above link from Hourglass UK (previously stating that, “Economic [financial] abuse is one of the most widespread forms of abuse of older people. Between 2017 and 2019, 39% of all calls to our helpline were about economic abuse and in 2020, at least £13 million was reported as stolen, defrauded, or coerced from older victims.”

(This number will of course have increased as elderly victims have been even more isolated and cut-off from the rest of the world during periods of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic).

The same article continues, “So, whose responsibility is it to upskill those who have not lived with the internet as a day-to-day aspect of life or online banking? Our survey found that those who care for older people think financial service providers need to do more to protect older customers. 94% think it’s the responsibility of these services to do more to help keep older people safe.”

How to protect the elderly from financial abuse –

The link from the FT Adviser provides that, “A recent [2018] review of evidence conducted by Age UK found that approximately 130,000 people over 65 who live in the UK have suffered financial abuse.”

This link will take you to the Financial Abuse Code of Practice which banks (like the HSBC) have signed up to – clause 6 refers to ‘sign posting’ / signs of financial abuse, but unfortunately this is only in relation to the actions of a someone appointed under a Power of Attorney or other registered third party – no reference is made to general suspicious activity on the elder’s back account such as for the (unusual) payment of ‘out of the ordinary expenses’ such as sudden expensive holiday payment or car purchase– especially when bank will be fully aware of their clients age etc.

Anyone concerned that they or someone they know might be a victim of elder financial abuse is encouraged to call the Action on Elder Abuse helpline on 0808 808 8141 as confirmed in the link above,  to the Government’s website above.

Please do hesitate to contact if you require any further assistance or information.