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Yet many of these crimes go unreported, or under-reported—largely for the same reason that the widow in this case didn't want to divulge her name.

Unlike so many other crimes, financial exploitation often stems from personal relationships, and many victims feel embarrassed and guilty at having been taken in.

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It felt like a physical punch to the gut, she says.

And yet, as everyone sat down onto the table on Thanksgiving, she kept the news, and her rising panic, to herself.

What she didn’t yet comprehend was that the situation was not merely a theft of $200,000. Like a number of seniors, she had been targeted—in her case, successfully—by an unscrupulous fraudster who posed as a friend in order to steal her life savings.