Collins, Klobuchar Legislation to Crack Down on Fraud Targeting Seniors Passes the Senate

The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act will help fight scams designed to rob seniors of their assets by teaching seniors about fraud schemes and improving the federal response to fraud complaints

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), the Chairman of the Aging Committee, and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced that their legislation to crack down on fraud targeting seniors has passed the Senate.   A related version passed the House last week. 

 

The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act would help fight scams designed to rob seniors of their assets by directing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create an office to educate seniors about fraud schemes and improve the agency’s monitoring and response to fraud complaints.  Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and Peter Welch (D-VT) led companion legislation in the House. 

 

“As Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, protecting seniors from fraud and abuse is one of my top priorities,” said Senator Collins.  “The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act will enhance fraud monitoring, increase consumer education, and strengthen the complaint tracking system.  Raising awareness—particularly among older Americans who are more likely to be targeted—is key to protecting seniors’ hard-earned savings.”

 

“We must ensure all Americans have safety and dignity in their senior years, especially as we confront the coronavirus pandemic,” said Senator Klobuchar.  “New schemes designed to defraud seniors appear almost daily.  These aren’t simply a nuisance—these scams can wipe out a person’s entire life savings. Passing this bipartisan legislation is a critical step to combat fraud targeting seniors.”

 

The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act would help protect seniors from fraud schemes by creating an office at the Federal Trade Commission with the mission of helping fight scams designed to strip seniors of their assets by educating seniors about fraud schemes and improving the Commission’s response to fraud complaints.  The bill would also require the FTC, the agency responsible for handling consumer complaints, to coordinate with other agencies to monitor for fraud schemes targeting seniors.  In addition, the bill would require the FTC to distribute information — to seniors, their families, and their caregivers – that explains how to recognize fraud schemes and how to contact law enforcement authorities in the event that a senior is targeted for fraud.  The Senators have introduced this bill in the three previous Congresses.  In 2016, the legislation passed the Senate Commerce Committee without opposition, and in 2017, the legislation passed the Senate with unanimous consent.

 

As the Chairman of the Aging Committee, Senator Collins has been a leader in the fight to protect consumers from fraud, and she has championed policies to support seniors during the coronavirus pandemic.  Under Senator Collins’ leadership, the Aging Committee has held 25 hearings to examine scams affecting older Americans and also releases an annual Fraud Book outlining the top 10 scams reported to the Committee’s Fraud Hotline.