One of the leading organisations helping older people deal with the impact of coronavirus has said that some are at risk of financial abuse as a result of the current restrictions on movement for those over 70 years of age.

ALONE said cocooning has resulted in difficulties for some people trying to access money and banking.

The organisation said it is an "extremely difficult time for older people with regard to their finances and ensuring they remain secure".

It has welcomed the publication of an advisory booklet by the Banking and Payments Federation.

The BPFI is offering advice and support for older people on financial issues during the current restrictions.

The federation said the information booklet provides practical advice for cocooning customers on the various ways in which they can manage their day-to-day banking and finances in a safe way while they stay at home.

The BPFI has also announced that the main retail banks, AIB, Bank of Ireland KBC, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank, have all now set up helplines to offer advice and assistance to customers.

The banks will advise people on how they can access cash and keep it safe.


HELPLINES:

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


ALONE said it "welcomes 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".

It added: "Cocooning measures are resulting in difficulties with accessing money and banking, but unfortunately for some older people who are entrusting a family member or close contact with their finances, it may also leave them at risk of financial abuse."

ALONE has advised anyone with concerns or questions to contact the group on its Covid-19 helpline, which is open from 8am-8pm seven days a week on 0818 222 024.

Meanwhile, BPFI Chief Executive Brian Hayes said he recognised that online and telephone banking will not work for all customers.

He said: "For a small cohort of customers, these may not be feasible options and therefore all retail banks have put in place the possibility for such customers to get help accessing their cash.

"There are very strict protocols in place around this facility to ensure the potential for financial abuse is minimised and that it allows customers keep control of their money."