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With a greater number of disputes involving older Australians and their lenders , FOS is recognising how the lenders’ employees are often in the best position to recognise elder financial abuse.

FOS’ approach involves lenders adopting best practices and looking out for red flags which help prevent financial elder abuse. FOS has also provided indicators for the lenders’ employees to look out for when identifying elder financial abuse.

For example, abuse can involve the misuse of, or theft from, a bank account. Abusers are more likely to be relatives and caregivers; and less likely to be opportunistic strangers who befriend an elderly person or contact them through a scam. Misusing funds or assets belonging to an elderly person can be fraud or forgery or an abuse of trust.

Banking and Finance Lead Ombudsman, Phillip Field recommends that:

”Bank or other employees who suspect financial abuse need to take a number of steps including talking to the elderly person separately and in private. They should discretely discuss the financial transaction. We also outline a number of other steps including where guardians have been appointed and a Power of Attorney is active.”

FOS can award compensation for elderly persons who have faced elder financial abuse.

You can read the full media release here.

CCLSWA assists clients who have disputes with their financial service providers. If you have a dispute in this area and suspect that elder financial abuse may have occurred, you can call CCLSWA for a free, confidential discussion on (08) 9221 7066. Our telephone advice line is open Monday to Friday (except public holidays) between 9am and 4pm.

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