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Types of financial abuse

Are you experiencing financial abuse?

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



Elder financial abuse is a specific form of exploitation. It may also be emotional 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 Guardianship 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.



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 victim can be trapped in an abusive relationship with the person doing such things as:

  • forbidding access to bank accounts
  • providing an inadequate allowance
  • not allowing the victim to work
  • forcing the victim to sign documents or make false declarations
  • denying that the victim has an entitlement to joint property.

This is not an exhaustive list.

This type of financial abuse can be subtle. A person gradually takes control over bank accounts and financial transactions. Domestic financial abuse can also be obvious, violent and threatening.

It may not be until after a relationship has ended that the customer realises that they are a victim of financial abuse.



People who speak little English, including from Indigenous communities, 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 they use them to interpret for them.

This can lead to the person becoming a victim of financial abuse without their full understanding of the circumstances.

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