Recognizing and preventing financial abuse

Recognizing and preventing financial abuse

No one is immune to financial abuse. Our tips will help you learn how to prevent, detect and report it.

What is financial abuse?

Financial abuse is when someone you trust tries to control or misuse your money or property. Seniors in particular can fall victim to this type of abuse as they may be more vulnerable and likely to ask for help in managing their money and possessions.

Types of financial abuse

  • Emotional blackmail
  • Romance scams
  • Misuse of power of attorney
  • Inappropriate use of payment cards
  • Pressure to sign
  • Theft of property or money

Videos about financial abuse

Watch our Simon's advice series of videos with examples of financial abuse and hear tips from a Desjardins advisor on how to protect yourself.

Inappropriate use of payment cards

Listen to Sylvie's story and learn why you should never lend out your credit or debit card. Hear Desjardins advisor Simon's tips on how to prevent this type of financial abuse.

Simon's advice: Errands (1 min 30 s)

Misuse of power of attorney

Even if a loved one is authorized to manage your finances, be sure to keep an eye on your accounts and investments. You are responsible for all transactions made, including those made by your mandatary. Remember that you can request to rescind the power of attorney or change your mandatary.

Simon's advice: The cottage (1 min 41 s)

Emotional blackmail

Your money is yours, so it's up to you whether you help a loved one. Don't let anyone pressure you into helping them financially. If you do decide to lend someone money, be sure to draft an agreement to avoid any misunderstanding.

Simon's advice: Family (2 min 06 s)

Romance scams

Be cautious if you meet someone online. Scam artists use strategies to charm, manipulate and persuade people to send them money. If you have any doubts about something, talk to someone you trust.

Simon's advice: The stranger (2 min 04 s)

How to detect and prevent financial abuse

It's important to watch out for signs of abuse. Be wary, for example, if you spot unexplained transactions or withdrawals in your statements, if money or property goes missing or if you feel pressured into lending money.

Smart habits to safeguard your finances

Cards and accounts

  • Memorize the personal identification numbers (PINs) for your payment cards and don't share them with anyone.
  • Never lend out your credit or debit card.
  • Do your banking at well-known financial institutions.
  • Request an additional credit card if someone helps you with your shopping.
  • Do your online banking on a private and secure wireless (Wi-Fi) network.
  • Create passwords containing numbers, letters and symbols for online accounts.

Other good habits

  • Monitor your finances and transactions regularly, even if you have a mandatary.
  • Be discreet when talking about your plans and your property and their value.
  • Don't share your personal information over the phone or online.
  • Keep only a small amount of money at home.
  • Ask your advisor to draw up a power of attorney, protection mandate or loan agreement.

Are you a family member or friend?

  • Look out for the elderly person and stay in close contact.
  • Offer help or information about financial abuse.
  • Always act in their best interest and respect their right to privacy.

Further reading

Protect yourself from the grandparent scam

Find out how fraudsters can use a family member's identity to scam you over the phone or online.

Read the article -  Protect yourself from the grandparent scam.

Romance scams: When love comes at a price

Learn to spot the warning signs of romance scams so you don't fall into the trap.

Read the article - Romance scams: When love comes at a price.

Protecting the elderly from financial exploitation

Read Ms. Gendron's story and find out how her advisor helped prevent financial abuse.

Read the article - Protecting the elderly from financial exploitation.

Working together to prevent fraud

See how Desjardins and the Quebec City police are collaborating to raise awareness about fake advisor scams.

Read the article (in French only) : about Desjardins and the Quebec City police working together.

More information on keeping safe

Discover how we keep you safe every day, and learn about other types of fraud and how to protect yourself against them.

Learn more : ways to keep you safe

United against elder financial abuse

If you need support, we are here to listen and offer advice, without judgment and in complete confidence. Under our In Charge of Your Life and Your Property program, caisse personnel work together with support organizations to detect and prevent financial abuse of elderly members.

You also have access to tools and resources to help you protect yourself and securely manage your finances at your caisse.

Reporting financial abuse

Think you've witnessed financial abuse or fallen victim? Report any suspicious behaviour right away.

Contact us

For help, contact your advisor or call us today.

Montreal area:

Elsewhere in Canada and the US:

Talk to someone you trust

A family member, close friend, the police or a medical professional.

Call a helpline for support

In Quebec: The Elder Mistreatment Helpline 1-888-489-2287
Learn more  about the Elder Mistreatment Helpline. External link. This link will open in a new window

In Ontario: The Seniors Safety Line 1-866-299-1011
Learn more  about the Seniors Safety Line. External link. This link will open in a new window