Protecting Seniors from Fraud, Debt, and Nursing Home Abuses

 

Every day, in coming years, more than 500 New Yorkers will turn 65. Protecting seniors’ financial security is critical to ensuring that New Yorkers can grow old in their community. Yet, senior citizens struggle to pay for basic necessities such as rent and food, as well as the increased costs associated with being elderly such as medicine, transportation, and caregiving. One-third of senior households have no money left over or are in debt after meeting essential expenses each month.

A lack of retirement savings isn’t the only reason that seniors are often unable to meet their basic needs. Financial abuse targeting seniors is rampant. Seniors lose an estimated $37 billion a year to fraud. These scams strip elderly people of their economic security, putting their housing and independence at risk. Housing scams disproportionately affect seniors who often purchased their property years ago. Expenses rise while their income decreases, forcing individuals into financial instability and making them vulnerable to scams that may result in them losing their homes. When housing is lost, or a change in health necessitates assisted living, seniors are placed in nursing homes where both financial and physical abuse are too prevalent.

As Public Advocate, I successfully sued the NYC Department of Finance for terminating widowers’ rent exemptions; I co-hosted a series of seminars with Legal Services NYC on deed theft that reached hundreds of seniors; I introduced legislation to study retirement security and provide assistance to senior homeowners with snow removal; and I championed efforts to promote aging-in-place in NYCHA developments. As an assistant Attorney General, I resolved hundreds of consumer complaints.

As Attorney General, I will:

  • Prosecute scammers who target seniors as civil rights abusers, fraudsters and larcenists;

  • Institute a fund to ensure that legitimate service providers and housing counsellors are available to advise seniors at risk of falling prey to housing-related schemes;

  • Partner with not-for-profits and other government agencies to disseminate fraud alerts;

  • Conduct an investigation into, and potentially prosecute, those who target seniors with deceptive advertising; and

  • Strengthen enforcement against nursing home abuses.
     

Read my full plan to protect seniors and hold scammers accountable as New York State Attorney General: https://bit.ly/2ou2glD