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Moscow pensioner loses life savings in investment scam

MOSCOW, April 30 (RIA Novosti) - An 86-year-old Moscow woman was swindled out of $20,000 by two women who promised to invest the money in high interest government-bonds, a police source said Wednesday.

The two swindlers, who pretended to be social workers, visited the elderly woman's apartment Monday and persuaded the pensioner to hand over her life savings. With prices continuing to rise in Russia many pensioners struggle to afford basic goods on the average monthly pension of $150.

The elderly often fall victim to scams in the guise of social programs, including offers of cheap household appliances and other goods or the exchange of old bank notes for new ones, allegedly introduced as a result of some 'fictitious' money reform or redenomination.

In December 2007, a large pharmaceutical scam was exposed in Russia. Conmen persuaded Russian pensioners to buy a highly-effective anti-arthritis drug for 'a mere' 22,000 rubles ($930). The tablets turned out to be nothing more than vitamin pills.

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