Unfortunately, fraud affecting many vulnerable people is most likely to be perpetrated by those they trust the most – their family members, friends or carers.
‘Friendly’ fraud occurs when someone in a position of trust takes away access to a victim’s money or uses it without their consent. The victims are often vulnerable people who rely on others – the elderly or those with learning difficulties.
What does family or ‘friendly’ fraud look like?
Examples of friendly fraud include:
- Coercing someone to sign paperwork concerning loans, property, wills or powers of attorney.
- Using powers of attorney to manage the victims’ finances inappropriately.
- Using bank or credit cards without permission.
- Promising to care for someone in exchange for financial support, then not providing the care.
- Moving into the home of a person without their consent and failing to contribute to household costs.
How can family fraud be identified?
Family fraud is often hidden – a victim may not identify what’s happening to them as fraud, they may be ashamed that it’s happening, or frightened of what might happen if anyone finds out. Signs of financial abuse include:
- Missing belongings
- Inability to find the money for basics such as food, clothing, transport costs and bills
- Large withdrawals or big changes in banking habits or activities
- Property transfers when the person is no longer able to manage their own financial affairs
How can family / friendly fraud be prevented?
Family fraud can be minimised by putting safeguards in place:
- The individual should make a will and clearly define the terms of who is entitled to what and when.
- The individual should stay involved with their finances for as long as they can.
- A trusted third party – such as a banking or accounting professional – should regularly check each account to ensure that it is as expected.
- Never share passwords
- Avoid saving your banking and personal log-ins, including using the auto-save feature, on shared computers and devices.
If you have been targeted by a scam relating to your Qudos account, visit our webpage Reporting Scams to find out who to contact.