WASHINGTON — Billions of dollars are stolen from thousands of seniors each year, through scams and fraud that target older Americans.

On Thursday, the Senate Special Committee on Aging heard testimony from government officials, experts and a scam survivor about the impacts of fraud and scams on seniors during the pandemic. Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said that testimony has highlighted the need for real solutions to senior-focused scams.

“We heard about how con artists have targeted older adults during the COVID pandemic, we heard from experts about the ways scammers are using anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic to prey on older adults,” Sen. Gillibrand said in a news conference Thursday afternoon.

The senator said Federal Trade Commission experts have shared with her how these scams are extraordinarily difficult to trace, and how difficult it can be to provide seniors with up-to-date information to protect themselves.

With 1 in 6 New Yorkers classified as older adults, Sen. Gillibrand said, state residents face at least $1.5 billion in losses a year. Over the last 18 months, pandemic-related scams have taken at least $550 million from the wallets of New Yorkers.

Anyone can be impacted, including state Attorney General Letitia A. James, who shared with Sen. Gillibrand that her own mother had been defrauded of $20,000 by…

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