Guide to reducing the risk of financial abuse

Housing 21 is committed to ensuring you have the correct information regarding your financial wellbeing. We also want to make sure you know where to go to get support on these issues.

Unfortunately financial abuse can happen and this page gives you information about how you can prevent it happening to you.

Download the Guide to reducing the risk of financial abuse 

  • What is financial abuse?

    Financial abuse can take many forms including:

    • Someone stealing money or things you own
    • Someone borrowing money and never giving it back
    • Someone taking your pension, benefits or savings for their own use
    • Someone not paying bills or your rent for you
    • Someone forcing or pressuring you to give them your money
    • Someone tricking your into parting with your money
    • Someone pressurising you over a will or inheritance
    • Someone failing to provide you with what you need if they have responsibility for your money and benefits
    • Someone deliberately overcharging you for
      goods or services


  • Who are adults abused by?

    You may or may not know the person.

    It could be:
    • a relative – someone in your family
    • an employee
    • a partner or friend
    • a neighbour
    • a stranger

  • Protecting yourself from financial abuse

    These are steps you can take to protect yourself:

    • Don’t give your personal details or any financial information to anyone over the phone
    • Beware of doorstep callers – never let strangers into your home. Always ask for identification and agree a time when they can call back. This gives you time to check who they say they are. Be
      very wary of trades people offering to carry out work on your home such as roof repairs or cleaning guttering. If you need work doing, find
      reputable traders and get at least three quotes
    • Ask for receipts if someone else is
      shopping for you or paying bills
    • Fraudsters are often very convincing and persuasive. If something sounds too good to be true then it almost certainly will be – you can’t win a prize in a competition you’ve never entered
    • Don’t give anyone the Personal Identification Number (PIN) number for your debit/credit cards – if someone steals cash from you when
      you have given them your PIN number, the bank will not refund your money
    • Don’t keep large sums of cash in your home
    • Always check your bank statements. Contact your bank straight away if you notice anything suspicious
    • Where possible, pay your regular bills by Direct Debit or standing order
    • Don’t give anyone blank cheques
    • Keep financial documents and paperwork in a lockable file. Anything else with your name, address, date of birth or other personal
      details that you don’t want to keep, should be
      disposed of carefully – if possible shred it
  • What if I'm finding it difficult to manage my financial affairs

    You have the right to manage your own money and to make decisions about your finances. Most people want to remain independent for as long as possible and keep the right to deal with their own affairs. Sometimes though, you may need temporary or permanent help, for example, if you:

    • are ill for a time or have an accident that means you have to stay in bed or cannot get out of your home
    • have to go into hospital
    • have a physical disability that makes it difficult for you to get around
    • have lost your partner or other person who used to deal with your financial affairs
    • have become forgetful or confused about money matters.

    If you need help to practically manage your money, there are different arrangements you can make. Choosing the right one will depend on your own personal circumstances. Make sure that anyone who
    has access to your money is someone you can trust and is legally appointed to do deal with your finances on your behalf.

  • Useful contact details

    There are many different organisations that you can contact for further information and advice, including:

    If you suspect that you or someone else you know is being financially abused, don’t be afraid to speak out. This could be to:

    • Your local manager
    • Housing 21’s confidential line: 0303 123 1744
    • Someone else that you know and trust
    • The Police
    • Social Services
    • Action on Elder Abuse: 080 8808 814
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