TOPEKA, Kan. -

Attorney General  Derek Schmidt says a new law signed by Governor Brownback today will better protect Kansas senior citizens against fraud and financial abuse.

The law applies when a victim of financial abuse is age 70 or older. It "substantially enhances" penalties for stealing from an elderly person. If convicted of large-scale financial abuse, someone could face more than 40 years in prison.

The new law also makes misusing a trust instrument or power of attorney in order to misappropriate an elder person's life savings a crime.

"Our office takes seriously the duty to protect Kansas senior citizens from fraud and abuse," Schmidt said. "These new tools will build on the record financial recoveries our Consumer Protection Division has obtained in recent years and will allow the state to go further and put con artists who prey on Kansas seniors behind bars."

This change was first proposed in January. Schmidt says the law will help protect seniors because it has clearer boundaries, better investigative tools and tougher penalties. It was signed into law last month, but Governor Brownback re-signed it in an official ceremony today.

FactFinder 12 looked into the top five scams targeting seniors. We've compiled information from the Better Business Bureau and the National Council on Aging.

  • Health care scams-criminals pose as medicare representatives to get personal information
  • Scams involving counterfeit prescription drugs-victims lose money and may not get real medicine
  • Medical alert device scams
  • Computer scams
  • Home improvement scams

To stay updated on the latest scams hitting our area, check out our "FactFinder 12" section on our website.