Coronavirus: Older people urged to be ‘vigilant’ of financial abuse while cocooning

Some over 70s forced to entrust relatives or close contact with finances due to restrictions

Some older people are at risk of financial abuse due to restrictions introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a charity has said. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Some older people are at risk of financial abuse due to restrictions introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a charity has said. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

 

Some older people are at risk of financial abuse due to restrictions introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a charity has said.

Sean Moynihan, chief executive of Alone, which supports people who want to live at home into old age, said cocooning measures were resulting in difficulties for older people accessing money and banking services.

He said some were entrusting family members or close contacts with their finances which may “leave them at risk of financial abuse”.

“We are encouraging older people to stay vigilant and if they have any concerns to raise them with their bank or with ourselves at Alone though our Covid-19 helpline, which is open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week on 0818 222 024,” he said.

Irish banks have set up dedicated phone lines for customers currently staying indoors on Government advice.

The Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has also published a coronavirus information guide with advice on phone and online banking options, making payments over the phone and tips to keep their money safe.

“We welcome the steps taken by the BPFI to provide solutions to support older people to protect their finances, and we recognise that these options are limited by the current restrictions with regard to cocooning,” Mr Moynihan said.

“These additional supports are necessary and will support anyone who has independently managed their finances up until now to continue to do so.”

Freephone numbers set up for people cocooning:

AIB: 1800 207 232

Bank of Ireland: 1800 946 146

KBC Bank: 1800 804 472

Permanent TSB: 1800 218 000

Ulster Bank Ireland: 1800 656 001