Professor Keith Brown leads the National research into financial fraud and scams with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and the National Scams team.
He says the majority of cases of theft which he has come across involved family-related fraud. “People contact me in a very distressed state to talk about how a close relative has taken money without permission or knowledge from another family member. This is not just one or two examples, but increasingly is becoming the majority of stories I hear about. What is clear is that very few crimes from within families are ever reported to the authorities. We appear to have overlooked the scale and impact of fraud and theft within families.”
Brown explained, “We don’t understand the motivation. Is it an attempt to avoid paying care home fees, or to avoid inheritance tax or is it simply relatives believing the money is theirs by right and as they will inherit it anyway, they are simply ‘accessing it’ early.