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Protecting myself

While most older people never experience financial abuse, it is important that you take steps to protect yourself from any potential financial abuse. Prevention is always better than cure. Never be afraid or embarrassed by raising any issues or concerns you might have. Here are some initial steps and tips which you can take to protect yourself:

  • If you have concerns or suspicions that you may be experiencing financial abuse talk to somebody you trust such as a close friend, family member or an advocate and contact the HSE elder abuse service on Free Phone: 1850 24 1850. Click here to find the Senior Case Worker for older people in your area.
  • Set up an Enduring Power of Attorney so that if you become unable to make decisions on your own, you can choose who will make decisions on your behalf
  • Make a Will so you can decide what happens to your money, property or possessions after your death
  • Get independent legal advice when making a Will or an Enduring Power of Attorney
  • Never use a joint account arrangement to allow somebody to help you manage your financial affairs should you become unable to do so yourself
  • Never sign blank cheques
  • Never give personal information to somebody at your doorstep or who phones you or contacts you by email or post. Personal information may include:
    • Your driver’s licence number
    • Credit card information
    • Passport information
    • Date of birth
    • PPS number
    • Mother’s maiden name
  • Never give your bank account information to anybody who phones you or contacts you by email or post. Bank account information includes:
    • Your PIN
    • Your internet banking login details
    • Passwords
    • PPS number
  • Remember that banks will never ask you to confirm your bank account information or ask for your PPS number by telephone, post or by email
  • Always check and verify the identification of doorstep callers, website addresses and any material that is posted through your door or which you receive by email
  • Never pay a fee to collect a prize such as lottery winnings or sweepstakes
  • Never rush into a financial decision particularly at times of crisis or emergency such as, the death of a spouse
  • Don’t sign any document you don’t understand. Seek advice from a trusted independent advisor, for example your solicitor
  • Check references, identification and credentials before hiring anybody to do work in your house/garden and make sure you get an invoice for payment
  • Pay with cheques or credit cards rather than cash. This ensures you keep a paper trail
  • Order copies of your financial statements once a month and check them for unexpected and/or unusual transactions. This will help you to monitor the activities on your accounts
  • Report lost or stolen credit cards and cheques, or suspicious transactions on your account to your bank immediately

 

Trust your instincts!

Exploiters and abusers are often very skilled at what they do. They can be charming or intimidating. They may try to convince you they are acting in your best interests. If something sounds ‘too good to be true’ it probably is. If you feel that something is not right, trust your instincts, do not be afraid to say ‘no’. You have the right to be free from intimidation or threat. It is your money and you are in charge.

University College Dublin (UCD)National Centre for the Protection of Older People (NCPOP)Health Services Executive (HSE)Older People's Empowerment Network (OPEN)
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