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Financial abuse

What is financial abuse?

Financial abuse is: “The unauthorised and improper use of funds, property or any resources belonging to another individual”.

S42 of the Care Act 2014 states that financial and material abuse includes:

  •  Theft.
  •  Fraud.
  •  Internet scamming.
  •  Coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions.
  •  The misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions, or benefits.

The most common type of financial abuse is committed by partners, family members, friends, or carers. This is committed by people who are in a position of trust and power. This may include;

  •  Taking money out of a person’s account or cash by family members from their wallet/purse without their permission
  •  Taking out credit in a person’s name without their knowledge or permission such as a credit card or bank loan.
  •  Cashing a person’s cheques or money without their consent.
  •  A person being stopped from accessing their own finances and bank accounts.
  •  A person using a bank or credit card without the permission of the card holder to purchase items for their own financial gain.
  •  Taking possessions or property from the persons home without their consent.
  •  A person requesting for benefits to be paid into their account and failing to provide the victim with their benefits.
  •  Romance fraud, a person who meets an individual online who grooms the person into making payments.
  •  Blackmail which is a type of abuse that can be used for financial gain and may involve using threats of physical, mental or emotional harm, or of criminal prosecution, against a victim or someone close to them.

Commercial Financial Abuse

This is committed by those who are categorised or purporting to be a commercial entity and may include;

  •  A Trader stating work needs to be done on a property due to it being in “disrepair” or “unsafe”. This includes, driveways, tarmacking, gardening, guttering, roofing, tree cutting, etc.
  •  A person purporting to be a trader, grooming and befriending persons to extort money and assets from them which is fraud
  •  Phone call purporting to be from the bank or police asking the victim to withdraw money from their account and meet a courier.  Referred to as courier fraud.
  •  Impersonating of officials such as TV licencing demanding for payment of services, this could be over the phone, online or in person.
  •  Postal, telephone and internet scams where the person has fallen victim to the fraudster claiming to be an investment company and the person is groomed into giving them money.
  •  Being deliberately overcharged for goods or services or being asked to part with money under false pretences.
  •  Unlicensed money lending (loan sharks) e.g; being offered a loan on very bad terms
  •  Staff or volunteers borrowing money or accepting gifts or money from clients.
  •  Professionals misusing a person’s assets. e.g; Carers using an adults Blue Badge or their mobility car without them present for their own personal gain
  •  Personal allowance for a person in a care home being absorbed into a care home or household budget or misappropriated by care staff.
  •  Care provider/ day service intentionally charging a person for support although it is not delivered at the amount agreed in Care and Support Plan eg;1:1 support delivered and not 2:1.

Advice and Signposting

Heart of the South West Trading Standards is at the forefront of tackling financial abuse through their activities in identifying, visiting and supporting victims of scams. They are also actively working in partnership with the National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team to deliver key education to help promote the continued health and wellbeing of those potentially at risk of scamming


Other Useful Resources

Kent County Council have produced a Financial Abuse Toolkit which can be access here

Hourglass, a UK wide charity working to promote safer ageing and ending abuse, have produced a financial abuse leaflet which can be accessed here

The National Centre for Domestic Violence work closely with Respect who have produced a financial abuse toolkit which can be accessed here




Getting help

Victim Support

Victim support is an independent charity, who work towards a world where people affected by crime or traumatic events get the support they need and the respect they deserve. They help people feel safer and find the strength to move beyond crime. Their support is free, confidential and tailored to your needs.

08 08 16 89 111

Action Fraud

If you think that you’ve already experienced fraud, you should report the crime or incident to Action Fraud, not your local police service (unless it is an emergency). Action Fraud will initiate any necessary police investigation into your loss.

0300 123 2040

Womens Aid

Financial abuse is an aspect of ‘coercive control’ – a pattern of controlling, threatening and degrading behaviour that restricts a victims’ freedom. Womens Aid can provide advice and support if you are being financially abused in a domestic relationship.

0808 2000 247