8 Warning Signs That You’re In A Financially Abusive Relationship

Jenn W.
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It can be challenging to admit that you're in an abusive relationship, especially if it's with someone you love. But one form of abuse that is often overlooked is financial abuse. This type of abuse can be just as damaging as any other kind, and it's essential to know the warning signs to get out of the relationship before it gets too dangerous. This blog post will discuss 8 warning signs that you're in a financially abusive relationship.

signs of financial abuse

What Is Identity And Financial Abuse?

Identity and financial abuse is a severe form of domestic abuse that involves the control or manipulation of one or both of those aspects by an abuser. Financial abuse may include preventing someone from gaining employment, controlling their access to money, or even forcing them to acquire debt for the abuser’s own benefit. It can also involve preventing a victim from accessing medical care or withholding medical treatments until certain conditions are met.

Identity abuse is often used as a form of control where an abuser claims another person’s identity to establish credit accounts, misuse funds, act on behalf of the victim for various purposes, and sign contracts without consent. Ultimately, these forms of abuse can be very damaging and leave victims feeling isolated, helpless, and ashamed. Financial literacy and understanding are crucial to helping victims of identity and financial abuse escape such relationships.

What Are Signs Of Financial Abuse?

Financial abuse is a type of domestic violence case that involves controlling and manipulating someone's access to money. It can include:

1. Withholding Money

Someone is controlling their partner's access to money, preventing them from having the financial capacity to make their own decisions or manage their daily needs.

2. Coercive Control Over Finances

One partner makes all the financial decisions without input from the other. They may intentionally withhold funds or restrict how much money is available for spending and for what purpose it can be used.

3. Restricting Access To Someone’s Own Bank Account Or Credit Cards

One partner may limit another’s ability to access their assets by withholding information about account numbers and passwords or refusing to sign paperwork necessary to access funds.

4. Unauthorized Use Of Funds

One partner might access the other's accounts or use funds without permission. This could include withdrawing large amounts of money, running up debts in the other’s name, or making purchases with their credit cards.

5. Unfairly Controlling Financial Resources

One partner may have total control over the finances and use it as a form of punishment by not giving the other enough money to meet their needs, such as food or clothing for children.

6. Refusing To Provide Basic Necessities

A partner might deny access to food, clothing, and other essential items needed for daily life to control and manipulate behavior.

7. Withholding Funds Or Information

A partner may not disclose information about joint finances or refuse to provide access to funds needed for basic needs.

signs of financial abuse

8. Making False Accusations Of Financial Mismanagement

A partner may use false accusations of money mismanagement to guilt you into submission or undermine your credibility.

Financial abuse can have devastating consequences for those affected by it. It can lead to physical and emotional harm due to a lack of access to necessities such as medical care and housing costs. It can also result in financial hardship due to high debt levels accrued during abuse.

What To Do If You Think You're Being Financially Abused?

If you think you’re being financially abused, it's important to seek help. Financial abuse can come in many forms, and the sooner you address it, the better chance you have of preventing serious harm from occurring to your finances or credit score.

To start, reach out to someone you trust for advice and support. This could be a close friend, family member, co-worker, or financial professional. Connecting with someone and talking openly about your experience can give you clarity on what steps to take next. To end domestic violence, it’s essential to get help from an experienced and qualified professional.

Next, document any signs of financial abuse that may have occurred in a safe place outside of shared accounts with your abuser. These documents should include evidence such as bank statements, canceled checks, and other records showing transactions you didn’t consent to, such as withdrawals or transfers.

If you think your identity has been stolen and used for financial gain, contact all major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to place a fraud alert on your credit report.

signs of financial abuse

Finally, contact local authorities immediately if you feel unsafe or threatened due to the abuse. There are also many online resources available offering support and advice for dealing with financial abuse. Contact the national domestic violence hotline information for additional help.

How Can You Protect Yourself From Becoming A Victim Of Financial Abuse?

The best way to protect yourself from becoming a victim of financial abuse is to become aware of the signs and take action as soon as possible. It’s important to remember that financial abusers can be anyone, and they don’t always reveal themselves right away. Here are some tips you can use to protect your finances:

  • Be mindful of sudden changes in your accounts or bills that you can't explain. If there are significant changes, investigate further.
  • Become familiar with your credit score, credit report, bank statements, investment accounts, loan agreements, and other financial documents so you know what looks normal and can spot if something appears off.
  • Make sure all account passwords and PINs are your own, and be sure to change them periodically.
  • Make sure all account holders listed on any of your accounts are familiar to you, and if there are suspicious names or activity, contact the institution immediately.
  • Consider limiting access to credit reports so no one can open accounts using your identity without your permission.
  • Review statements regularly for unusual activity or charges, whether from a credit card, bank account, or another financial service provider.
  • Don’t give out personal information such as Social Security numbers, addresses, and banking information unless necessary.

Final Words

Financial abuse can have devastating consequences, both financially and emotionally. It is essential to recognize the signs of financial abuse to take action and protect yourself or someone you care about before it is too late. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be suffering from financial abuse, reach out for help immediately. There are many resources available that can provide guidance and support. You can talk to one of our financial coaches here at Bolder to help answer your questions. Financial empowerment can be a very freeing experience, so don’t hesitate to seek advice and learn more about your options. With the right help and support, victims of financial abuse can get back on their feet and build a brighter future for themselves.

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