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Scammers frequently target the elderly for securities fraud

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Money is almost a universal concern among adults, but especially for the elderly who might be living on fixed incomes and limited retirement savings. New York scammers understand this all too well and use it to their advantage when committing securities fraud and elder financial abuse. These acts of fraud can — and often do — deplete much of the victims’ life savings.

One example of this type of fraud involves an 86-year-old man who thought he had won two different multimillion dollar sweepstakes. But the people who told him about his lucky wins insisted that he had to pay the taxes for the winnings before they could hand over the money. His bank refused to allow him to send approximately $93,000 to the scammers, but he got around this by opening up another account. There were never any winning sweepstakes, and he lost all that money.

This is not an isolated incident, either. Scammers defraud elderly Americans out of about $3 billion each and every year. One of the most common methods is through investment schemes, which involve convincing older adults to make fraudulent investments for which they will never see any returns.

It is hard to pin down the exact number of victims in New York for a couple of reasons. Some victims suffer from diminished mental capacities are not fully aware they have been defrauded. Others are embarrassed to admit they fell for a securities fraud scheme. But neither of these justify not taking action. In some situations, loved ones can help elderly relatives pursue legal claims to try and recover their financial losses.