We have been focusing recently on helping people avoid scams; online, on the telephone and in person on the doorstep. It's a common misconception that it will always be a stranger that steals from you. In actual fact statistically it's just as likely to be someone you know. A carer or family member. It seems really sad that sometimes people cannot trust the person closest to them but often this type of deception is not just straighforward greed.
Most of us are lucky enough to have the support of caring families and friends to look out for us. If we have the means, we might have trusted professionals taking care of our finances and legal affairs. A recent report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Insurance and Financial Services explores examples and what can be done to reduce the incidence. There are some interesting case studies in this report showing that sometimes those we rely on don't have the skills to help or are vulnerable themselves. Sometimes people are in difficult circumstances and it's an easy option to "borrow" what they perceive will one day be theirs anyway. Often those relied on to help do not understand the rules around deprivation of assets and leave their elderly relatives in trouble with the local authority over care costs and open to legal proceedings.
A Lasting Power of Attorney, although not a guarantee, seems the best option as it provides a legal framework as to what is and what isn't acceptable when looking after someone else's affairs. There were also opportunities for agencies to spot the signs early that someone is being taken advantage of and they must act on this.
At FMB we are members of the Personal Finance Society Financial Vulnerability Taskforce. We uphold their 5 point Charter and follow guidance and procedures. Our staff receive regular training and updates in order to spot vulnerability, therefore offering a greater level of protection for those clients who might be affected by this kind of financial abuse.
If you are concerned about any of the issues here, please get in touch as we can point you or your loved ones towards support.
You can read the APPG report here.