Help if someone manipulates your financial decision-making, or misuses or controls your money.
Financial abuse can happen to anyone. People can be particularly vulnerable to financial abuse when they are dependent on family members and other people for their day-to-day care or social contact.
Financial abuse occurs when someone manipulates your financial decision-making, or misuses or controls your money, financial resources, or property or assets without your knowledge or consent.
Financial abuse can happen to anyone, at any time, no matter their age, gender or sexual orientation. People who are dependent on family members and other people for their day-to-day care or social contact can be particularly vulnerable to financial abuse.
A ‘financial abuser’ can be someone you hardly know or someone you have known all your life. They could be family members, friends, acquaintances or strangers who befriend you. They may also be professionals or caregivers employed to help you.
There can be many different reasons why financial abuse starts. For example:
It’s important to remember that there are no circumstances in which financial abuse is acceptable, so if you think this might be happening to you, don’t be afraid to get help.
To help protect yourself from financial abuse:
It can be hard to recognise when you are experiencing financial abuse – particularly when the abuser is someone you have placed your trust in, or are dependent on for aspects of your care. It often involves actions over a period of time.
Warning signs may include:
We understand that it can be hard to talk about, or take action to stop financial abuse. When you’re talking to one of our RAMS representatives, you are entitled to speak with them separately from your support person, friend or carer. When you tell us that you suspect financial abuse, depending on your personal circumstances, we may:
If you believe you may be experiencing financial abuse, you should seek legal advice. You may be able to obtain free legal advice from a community legal centre or Legal Aid office in your state or territory. See the ASIC MONEYSMART website for details.
Accessing guidance on fraud and scams
Financial abuse is not the same as a fraud or scam, although financial abuse can sometimes involve fraud. Find out more information on how you can protect your security, including from fraud and scams.
Lifeline. Lifeline provides Australians experiencing a personal crisis with 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14.
Setting up a power of attorney to help manage your banking needs.
The Australian Guardianship and Administration Council website has links to State and Territory member organisation with information on power of attorney documents and other guardianship issues.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your debt situation, you may want to consider contacting the National Debt Helpline which offers a free, independent and confidential financial counselling service. A financial counsellor can help you with your overall debt situation, advise you on what other benefits or support you might be entitled to, advocate on your behalf with all your creditors and refer you on to other appropriate support services in your local area.
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