Family, friends, neighbors, caregivers, fiduciaries, business people, and others may try to take advantage of Tom. They may take his money without permission, neglect to repay money they owe, charge him too much for services, or just not do things he has paid them to do. These may be examples of financial exploitation or financial abuse. As Tom’s supporter, you should help protect him. You should know the signs of financial exploitation for five important reasons:
- Tom may control some or all of his funds and could be exploited;
- Even if Tom does not control any of his funds, he still may be exploited;
- Tom may have been exploited, and you may still be able to do something about that;
- People may try to take advantage of you as Tom’s supporter; and
- Knowing what to look for will help you avoid doing things you should not do, protecting you from accusations that you have exploited Tom.
See "Common Signs" for some instances where it may be reasonable for you to suspect that Tom is being financially exploited and what you can do.