Collins, Klobuchar Bipartisan Legislation to Crack Down on Fraud Targeted at Seniors Passes Commerce Committee, Heads to Full Senate for Vote

Bipartisan bill would help fight scams designed to strip seniors of their assets by helping educate seniors about fraud schemes and improving monitoring and response to fraud complaints

Schemes targeting seniors include fraudulent investment plans, prizes and sweepstakes, internet fraud, charity scams, predatory home lenders, telemarketing and mail fraud, accessing assets through undue influence, using fraudulent legal documents, and Ponzi schemes

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced that today their bipartisan legislation to crack down on fraud targeted at seniors passed the Senate Commerce Committee, paving the way for a vote in the full Senate. Schemes targeting seniors include fraudulent investment plans, prizes, and sweepstakes, internet fraud, charity scams, predatory home lenders, telemarketing and mail fraud, accessing assets through undue influence, using fraudulent legal documents, and Ponzi schemes. The bipartisan Seniors Fraud Prevention Act would help fight scams designed to strip seniors of their assets by helping educate seniors about fraud schemes and improving monitoring and response to fraud complaints.

“One of my top priorities as Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee is to combat scams that target seniors.  I have held multiple hearings exposing and examining a number of these scams in order to help protect seniors, yet much more remains to be done,” said Senator Collins. “Our legislation would help enhance fraud monitoring, increase consumer education, and strengthen the complaint tracking system to help prevent seniors from being robbed of their hard-earned savings through threatening and manipulative scams.”

“Too often seniors can have their entire life savings snatched up in scams specifically designed to target their assets,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Today’s action brings us one step closer to passing our legislation and providing seniors and their families with the tools they need to avoid scams before they happen.”

The bill would help protect seniors from fraud schemes by strengthening the complaint system to ensure complaints of fraud are handled quickly by the appropriate law enforcement agencies. The bill would also require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the agency responsible for handling consumer complaints, to coordinate with other agencies to monitor the market for fraud schemes targeting seniors. In addition, the bill would require the FTC to distribute information materials to seniors, their families, and their caregivers that explain how to recognize fraud schemes and how to contact law enforcement authorities in the event that a senior is targeted. Klobuchar and Collins have introduced this bill in the two previous Congresses. In 2016, the legislation passed the Senate Commerce Committee without opposition.