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News Release

BCSC asking British Columbians to watch for signs of elder financial abuse

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Vancouver – The B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC) is urging British Columbians to learn the signs of elder financial abuse ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, 2024.

Elder financial abuse – the use of someone’s money without their permission or in a fraudulent way – continues to be the most common form of elder abuse. The BCSC is highlighting elder financial abuse through a social media outreach campaign during the month of June, reaching thousands of British Columbians to raise awareness that elder financial abuse is a serious issue.

“Raising awareness about elder financial abuse is one of the most effective tools we have to prevent abuse,” said Pamela McDonald, the BCSC’s Director of Communications and Education. “I encourage all British Columbians to learn the warning signs of elder financial abuse because by doing so, you can help prevent your older loved ones from becoming victims of financial exploitation.” 

The following are some common warning signs of elder financial abuse:

  • unusual financial transactions like increased bank withdrawals or liquidating investments
  • sudden changes in living arrangements, spending habits or inability to pay bills
  • unexplained disappearances of valuable possessions, such as jewelry and art, and
  • discrepancy between standard of living and financial assets.

The abuser can be someone the older person trusts and cares about, such as a family member, caregiver, or friend. This personal relationship makes it difficult for the older person to come forward to get help. The abuser may use a variety of tactics to take control of the victim’s finances. They may steal their money or bank cards, attempt to take over their investment portfolio or pressure them to make changes to their will or power of attorney.

Older adults can be vulnerable to financial abuse due to isolation, cognitive decline or fear of asking for help because it could affect their independence. Older adults may also be attracted to fraudulent investment offers, like promises of high-returns and low-risk, because they want to maximize their investments for retirement, or they want to leave money for their children and grandchildren.

Resources about elder financial abuse are available on the BCSC’s website, including tips on how to initiate a conversation with a loved one about financial abuse, information about why having a Trusted Contact Person is important and instructions on how to report suspected investment fraud.

About the B.C. Securities Commission (

The B.C. Securities Commission, an independent provincial government agency, strives to make the investment market benefit the public. We set rules, monitor compliance by industry, take action against misconduct, and provide guidance to investors and industry. As guardians of B.C.’s investment market, we’re committed to maintaining a market that is honest, fair, competitive and dynamic, enabling British Columbians to thrive.  

Media Contact:
Elise Palmer

Public inquiries:
604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393 (toll free)

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