Age Action is warning banks to be on the alert after a new survey found that almost 250 banking officials have dealt with suspected cases of elder financial abuse in the last 12 months.

A total of 500 banks took part in the survey, which found of the 13,000 cases of elder abuse referred to the HSE up to the end of 2013, financial abuse accounted for more than one in five.

The group says hundreds of older people are facing regular demands for money, are having their pensions withheld and are finding that their property is being taken.

In the vast majority of cases, the perpetrators are immediate family members.

Financial abuse is now the second most common form of elder mistreatment.

In one case the charity dealt with, a woman in her late 70s was left in sheltered accommodation after her son moved into her home and later refused her access.

In another incident, a woman with dementia was persuaded by her son to set up a joint bank account. He later used this account to get a credit card and made several purchases for which his mother was charged.

Age Action is now working with Ulster Bank in a bid raise awareness of financial abuse.

Together, they hope to establish new ways of preventing older people from becoming victims and to encourage banking staff to act if they suspect elder abuse.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland Justin Moran from Age Action said financial abuse amongst elders is "a growing problem" and is now second to psychological abuse.