Warning issued over 'huge trend' of financial abuse of older people

Banks are being asked to be on alert for "unusual or inappropriate" withdrawals from older people's accounts

Warning issued over 'huge trend' of financial abuse of older people

Picture by: Nicolas Armer/DPA/PA Images

Financial institutions are being asked to stay alert for any signs of financial abuse of their elderly customers.

Patricia Rickard Clarke, Chairperson of the National Safeguarding Committee, spoke to The Pat Kenny Show about the issue.

She observed: "If you take the figure of €7.2bn paid out to people aged over 66 in pension, and if you take the international average of financial abuse is 10%... then the figures are pretty indicative of the scale of the issue."

She said that figures are indicating a "huge trend" of financial abuse of older people - with recent HSE figures showing 1,645 cases of alleged financial abuse of adults in 18 months alone.

She added: "They're only the cases that are reported - they're very much the tip of the iceberg."

Financial abuse of elderly people can take various forms - from cases where individuals use their authority to withdraw cash from an elderly person's account, to other situations where nursing home bills are not paid despite the resident's pension being collected by an appointed person.

However, there are ways to try and minimise the level & risk of financial abuse.

Patricia told Pat: "Where somebody's name is being added to a joint bank account, the older person [should] be asked if they understood the implications of that, and are they giving authority to that person to withdraw.

"Even if they do give authority, the banks and financial institutions must still be on the alert to make sure there aren't unusual or inappropriate withdrawals."

You can listen back to the full interview via the podcast below: