A new law approved this week by Gov. Kathy Hochul will allow state officials and law enforcement to consider identity theft as a form of elder abuse when older people are found to be the victim. 

The measure adds identity theft and other fraud-related crimes to the state's formal definition of elder abuse and exploitation. 

"The fact that older New Yorkers are often the target of identity theft is unconscionable," Gov. Hochul said. "We need to continue boosting protections for our aging population, and this legislation is a simple, common-sense way to keep them safe from harmful tactics of elder abuse. Older New Yorkers have been there for us, and as the nation's first age friendly state I'm proud that New York continues to lead the way to be there for them."   

The new law will also add to the section of the law that requires identity theft be one of many forms of elder abuse tracked by the state Office of the Aging as well as law enforcement officials. 

In practical terms, the move is meant to provide more protection for older New Yorkers who could fall victim to fraud, such as when a person's social security number, driver's license information, or bank or credit card account is used by an unauthorized person. 

The law was sponsored by Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz and state Sen. Rachel May. 

"Every year older New Yorkers fall victim to identity theft as scammers get more inventive and aggressive," May said. "This simple change to our laws will open up state resources for people fighting this terrible crime. I thank Governor Hochul for signing this bill today to ensure seniors have more protection against abuse."