BUFFALO, N.Y.--According to Buffalo's Center for Elder Law & Justice, nearly 1,500 local seniors report abuse claims each year. Officials believe the true number of victims is likely even higher.

On Friday, leaders with the company joined others in the community to kick off Elder Abuse Awareness Month, to help spread the word about this issue.

According to the center, financial abuse is among their top claims.

Nationally, they say that seniors lose about $36 billion dollars each year to financial scams.

And physical abuse is a close second.

They say abusers will isolate the elderly to prey on them and add that abusers are often closer to their victims than most think.

"About 90 percent of the perpetrators are known to the victims, family members, care givers, friends. Oftentimes we find that people will befriend a senior who looks vulnerable and alone,” said the CEO of the Center for Elder Law & Justice, Karen Nicolson.

Here's more information about elder abuse and how to report it:

To report suspected abuse in the community, contact your local Adult Protective Services agency. The Erie County Adult Protective Services phone number is (716) 858-6877.

To report abuse or neglect in a nursing home or other facility, please contact the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Center at (518) 549-0200.

The Vulnerable Persons Central Register (VPCR) Hotline toll-free number is 1-855-373-2122.

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO), Domestic Violence Unit provides victims of domestic violence/elder abuse access to necessary services. For support and general information about domestic violence and elder abuse individuals can call the ECSO Domestic Violence Unit at (716) 858-7057.

Center for Elder Law & Justice provides free legal assistance to seniors in eight Western New York Counties. Their number is (716) 853-3087.