NYS Seal





Senior Scams


To examine how the state can best protect senior citizens from consumer scams.

December 1, 2008
10:30 a.m.

250 Broadway
Assembly Hearing Room 1923, 19th Floor

Consumer fraud costs New York victims millions of dollars each year and can threaten the financial stability of families and cause undue physical and emotional stress to its victims. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), compared to other age groups, seniors are disproportionately targeted by fraudulent actors because they are more likely to have large "nest egg" savings and tend to be more trusting than younger consumers. The FBI further reports that seniors are less likely to report a fraud; they may be unclear as to whom to report it, they may be ashamed at having been scammed, or may be unaware that they have been scammed.

This hearing will examine why a disproportionate number of scams target senior citizens and how the state can best protect its citizens from becoming victimized by consumer scams. The hearing will also evaluate the effectiveness of existing law to protect consumers.

Please see the reverse side for a list of questions in response to which witnesses may direct their testimony.

Oral testimony will be limited to five minute durations. Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committees would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements. Written testimony will also be accepted and may be sent to the contact persons listed on the reply form. In order to publicize the hearing further, please inform interested parties of the Committees' interest in receiving written testimony from all sources.

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with their policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer,
Chair, Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz,
Chair, Committee on Aging


  1. What types of consumer scams are most often perpetrated on New York seniors?

  2. What changes, if any, should be made to existing statutes aimed at protecting citizens from scams to improve the effectiveness of such statutes?

  3. Is there a need for new legislation to combat the targeting of seniors by fraudulent actors? If so, what type of legislation is needed?

  4. An increasing number of seniors are using the Internet to communicate and transact business. What can the state do to protect seniors from Internet scams?

  5. It has been reported that seniors are more likely to be targeted by fraudulent telemarketing schemes. How can the state best protect seniors from such scams?

  6. What actions have other states taken to protect seniors from consumer scams?

  7. Do the Consumer Protection Board (CPB) and the New York State Office for the Aging have adequate staff to effectively educate New York seniors about consumer scams and assist those seniors victimized by scams?

  8. How does the Elderly Abuse Education and Outreach Program funded by the State Office for the Aging through the SFY 2008-09 budget protect seniors from scams, or assist seniors who may have been victims of scams?

  9. Has the CPB's Identity Theft Prevention and Mitigation Program created pursuant to Chapter 279 of the Laws of 2008 produced education materials and programs directed at seniors? How does the program intend to address the threat identity theft poses to New York seniors?

  10. What new initiatives has the CPB undertaken to protect seniors from consumer scams as a result of the SFY 2008-09 budget? What new initiatives, if any, does the department anticipate for the SFY 2009-10?

  11. Given that the New York State Division of Budget is forecasting a General Fund deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year, what are the potential ramifications on the budget for the CPB? What impact could deficit reduction efforts have on the staffing level of the Consumer Assistance Unit?

  12. Given the Court of Appeals ruling that the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights is preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act, has the CPB reallocated any of the five new FTEs funded in the 2008-09 Enacted Budget intended to support the newly-created Office of Airline Consumer Advocate?


Persons interested in presenting testimony at the public hearing on Senior Scams to be held on December 1, 2008, or who wish to submit written testimony only, are requested to complete and return this reply form to:

Erin Cunningham
Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection
Alfred E. Smith Office Building
80 South Swan St., Floor 22
Albany, New York 12248
Phone: (518) 455-4355
Fax: (518) 455-7250

box I plan to attend the public hearing on Senior Scams to be conducted by the Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection and the Assembly Committee on Aging on December 1, 2008.

box I plan to make a public statement at the hearing. My statement will be limited to 5 minutes, and I will answer any questions which may arise. I will provide 10 copies of my prepared statement.

box I will address my remarks to the following subjects:

box I do not plan to attend the above hearing.

box I would like to be added to the Committee mailing list for notices and reports.

box I would like to be removed from the Committee mailing list.


I will require assistance and/or handicapped accessibility information. Please specify the type of assistance required:








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