Who's holding the purse strings?

January 30th, 2017 in Features

A man holding open an empty wallet.

The facts about financial abuse.

What is financial abuse?
We have become more and more aware of online risks and how to navigate the web safely. And we are naturally more cautious when dealing with online companies when it comes to sharing personal or financial details. However, it is sometimes the people we know well who are the biggest threat to our financial security.

Financial abuse is when somebody you know attempts to steal, defraud or control your finances. It’s uncomfortable to imagine somebody you trust treating you in this way, but, sadly, this type of abuse does happen.

This article is not suggesting that we should stop trusting the people closest to us; our friends, family, carers or link workers, however, it outlines some of the risk factors to be aware of. If you, or somebody you know, can relate to the points below, it’s time to think about seeking help.

  • You are told you are ‘not allowed’ to discuss your finances with anybody other than your friend/partner who is helping you manage your money
  • Your friend/partner is limiting your access to your own money and controlling what you spend.
  • You notice unexplained withdrawals or an increase in bank account activity that you cannot explain.
  • You are pressured into changing your will.
  • You are pressured into giving away or ‘lending’ your valuable possessions.

Top tips
If you are worried about your finances, the first thing you should do is get help. However, you can also try a few basic actions to help you protect your money.

  • Discreetly keep a small amount of money aside in case of emergencies.
  • Teach yourself the basics of finance, even if your friend or partner tends to manage the household bills, it is useful for you to have a clear understanding of how the bills work, how much you are paying each month and to who.
  • Seek confidential advice from organisations such as Citizen’s Advice.

If you are concerned about yourself, or somebody you know, speak to your support worker or, where appropriate, call the police.