In a 2021 FCNB provincial survey, 12 per cent of adults surveyed reported they personally know a senior who has or may have been a victim of financial abuse. However, 50 per cent of those who knew of or suspected financial abuse did not report it.
Unfortunately, perpetrators of financial abuse are often trusted family and friends. This may make it difficult for someone to report instances of abuse because they:
- don’t realize they are being financially exploited.
- have been convinced into believing “families help each other.”
- fear retaliation or loss of support (for example, being denied access to their grandkids)
- feel embarrassed
If you think you are being financially exploited, consider asking someone you trust for help. Someone you trust might be a friend, family member, police officer, lawyer, or staff member at your financial institution. If someone you are close to is showing signs that they are being taken advantage of financially, ask them if they need help.
Where to seek help
Many organizations in New Brunswick play a role in assisting older adults and those who may be vulnerable to financial exploitation. Knowing who to contact in advance of seeing signs of financial exploitation can save you time and may help protect your loved ones from experiencing serious financial loss.
Download Seeking Help for Financial Abuse for a contact list of government and advocacy organizations where you can report or seek assistance for those experiencing financial abuse, or seek help for vulnerable individuals who lack capacity handle their financial affairs.
Office of the Public Trustee
Contact the Public Trustee to seek protection and assistance for individuals who lack the mental or legal capacity to manage their own financial or personal affairs.
The Senior’s Advocate strives to ensure the rights of older New Brunswickers are respected regarding services offered by departments and agencies of GNB. The Senior’s Advocates mandate includes seniors have access to approved services and that complaints about these services receive appropriate attention.
Canadian Anti-fraud Centre (CAFC)
Contact CAFC to report instances of fraud and cybercrime. Reporting these suspected frauds to CAFC will ensure the CAFC can warn others about these instances.
If you have concerns that an older or vulnerable adult is being physically abused, subject to mental cruelty, or lacks the means to care for themselves and is experiencing self-neglect, contact New Brunswick’s Department of Social Development, Adult Protection. Also report instances of financial exploitation when you believe the financial exploitation has led to or is coupled with other instances of abuse mentioned above. Financial exploitation is not recognized in the Family Services Act. However, a person being financial exploited very often is experiencing another type of abuse or neglect. For example, when a person has been financially exploited, they may suffer depression, anxiety and loss of independence, and may no longer have the financial means to care for themselves, leading to self-neglect. While Social Development cannot investigate financial exploitation, they may intervene when it’s occurring with another abuse.
If you believe an adult is in imminent danger, call 911.
Acts of financial exploitation may constitute a Criminal Code offence. While the police may not be able to recoup the direct loss to the victim, in certain circumstances, they may be able to investigate the alleged Criminal Code violation, perhaps preventing the perpetrator from victimizing others. Report instances of financial exploitation that are offences against rights of property under varying sections of the Criminal Code, including theft (section 322), theft by a person holding a power of attorney (section 331), misappropriation of money held under direction (section 332(1)), theft or forgery of credit card (section 342), theft from mail (section 356). Concerns of financial exploitation, fraud and forgery should be reported to the RCMP or local police agency, citing the above Criminal Code provisions as applicable.
To report suspected consumer or investment fraud, submit a complaint to FCNB.