The CQC has investigated almost 13,000 concerns over the financial abuse of elderly care home residents, a FOI has found.
The FOI request by law firm Wedlake Bell found there were 12,968 investigations of potential financial abuse by the CQC between 2013 and June last year.
Ann Stanyer, partner of Wedlake Bell, said: “It is unclear from the FOI results as to where the problem lies – whether the abuse is real, whether it is based on suspicions of the care home residents, whether it is perpetrated by care home staff or care home visitors.”
She said the data showed there was a “very real problem identified in the care home sector”.
The data revealed that almost a third of victims in 2016 were over 85. Of the 2,826 cases, 503 involved a care home employee and 458 involved relatives of the victim.
Incidents of financial abuse include people being persuaded to hand over money, being pressured into signing over property or other assets, or people using cheques and credit or debit cards without permission.
Ann added: “Practitioners have serious concerns that the increased digitisation of creation of lasting power of attorney will empower abusers without any reciprocal drive to put statutory safeguards in place.”
A Government spokesman told The Telegraph: “Abuse of people in care is completely unacceptable in any form and we expect all care homes to protect residents from financial exploitation.
“We have introduced tougher inspections of care services and made sure that the police, councils and the NHS are working together to help protect vulnerable adults.
“We are determined to tackle fraud and that is why the Government created the Joint Fraud Taskforce, which brings together government, the banks and law enforcement to develop a collective response to it.
“Working collaboratively in this way builds on the good work already being done to tackle complex fraud issues.”