Nation’s largest senior group says “this legislation protects individuals at financial institutions who disclose suspected financial exploitation of senior citizens to appropriate agencies, and requires the financial institution to provide training on identifying and handling of potential exploitation.”
Washington, D.C. — In a letter to leaders of the Senate Aging Committee, AARP officially endorsed the Senior$afe Act of 2017. This bipartisan legislation, authored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Chairman and former Ranking Member of the committee, would put in place a commonsense plan to help protect American seniors from financial exploitation and fraud by providing support to regulators, financial institutions, and legal organizations to educate their employees about how to identify and prevent financial exploitation of older Americans.
In the letter endorsing the bill, AARP noted that elder abuse is “often a hidden phenomenon that affects hundreds of thousands of seniors and financial exploitation is the most prevalent form of elder abuse. Every year, abuse and exploitation rob older Americans of $3 billion – and this is only the amount reported.” AARP went on to emphasize “financial exploitation is a pervasive and increasing problem that specifically threatens our members’ financial security,” requiring “strong legal protections against financial exploitation.”
“As Chair of the Senate Aging Committee, I have made preventing the financial exploitation of seniors a top priority,” said Senator Collins. “AARP’s endorsement of the Senior$afe Act is welcome support for this cause, and I am delighted they have joined us in the fight to protect older Americans from scams that employ threatening and misleading tactics, and rob them of their hard-earned savings.”
According to the Government Accountability Office, financial fraud targeting older Americans is a growing epidemic that costs seniors an estimated $2.9 billion annually. These scams range from the “Jamaican Lottery Scam,” to the IRS impersonation scam, and as recently highlighted in a Senate Aging Committee hearing, the financial exploitation of seniors through guardianships.
Current bank privacy laws can make it difficult for financial institutions to report suspected fraud to the proper authorities The Senior$afe Act would address this problem by:
- Encouraging banks, credit unions, investment advisors, broker-dealers, insurance companies and insurance agencies to report suspected senior financial fraud; and
- Protecting these institutions from being sued for making reports so long as they have trained their employees, and make reports in good faith and on a reasonable basis to the proper authorities.
In addition to AARP, the Senior$afe Act has been endorsed by many stakeholders, including the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU), the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), Tansamerica, and LPL Financial.
Additional cosponsors of the Senior$afe Act of 2017 include: Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA); Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Thom Tillis (R-NC); Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH); Roger Wicker (R-MS); Jon Tester (D-MT); Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV); John Barrasso (R-WY); Joe Donnelly (D-IN); Dean Heller (R-NV); Angus King (I-ME); Tim Kaine (D-VA); John Boozman (R-AR); Deb Fischer (R-NE); David Perdue (R-GA), and Bob Casey (D-PA).
Read AARP’s full letter HERE.