Financial abuse of elderly people prompts Mid North Coast Police District warning

Mid North Coast Police District has issued a warning to residents to highlight the issue of financial abuse of elderly people.

A spokesperson from NSW Police said it's important people protect their financial cards, cheque books and other important documents.

"If someone asks for money, discuss it with a trusted family member or friend before agreeing," the spokesperson said.

"Talk to your bank about setting up direct debits and pre-authorised bill payments.

"Consider who has third party authorisations over your accounts and ensure that they are trusted."

Police also advice people to keep a track of their bank accounts, investments and other assets.

"Put in place arrangements, like a power of attorney, for how your money and property will be handled if you can no longer communicate your wishes effectively," the spokesperson said.

"Always read contracts and other documents carefully and never sign anything under duress. Seek legal advice when in doubt or contact police if you think you are being abused."

The Hastings Elder Abuse Prevention Network (HEAPN) is made up of representatives of service providers working with the elderly in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area and wider mid north coast.

The HEAPN co-ordinator says elderly people who have suffered abuse are often hesitant to speak up and seek help.

Jill McDonnell told the Port News a lot of people suffer abuse at the hands of a family member and they don't want to speak out against them out of fear that their loved one may get caught up in trouble.

For more information about seeking advice, people can contact the Seniors Rights Service on 1800 424 079.

The Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline is 1800 628 221.

To report an incident of financial abuse people can contact Port Macquarie Police Station on 6583 0199 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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