Bipartisan bill would help fight scams designed to strip seniors of their assets by educating seniors about schemes and improving monitoring and response to fraud complaints
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced that their bipartisan legislation to crack down on fraud targeted at seniors has passed the Senate. Schemes targeting seniors include impersonation scams; fraudulent investment plans, prizes, and sweepstakes; Internet fraud; charity scams; predatory home lenders; telemarketing and mail fraud; and Ponzi schemes. The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act would help fight scams designed to deprive seniors of their assets by educating 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. My Committee has held multiple hearings exposing and examining a number of these scams and maintains a Fraud Hotline staffed by experienced investigators to assist seniors, yet much more remains to be done,” said Senator Collins. “I am pleased that the Senate unanimously supported our legislation, which will 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.”
Senators Collins and Klobuchar’s 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.
Senator Collins has long sought to increase public awareness and combat fraud targeting older Americans. According to the Government Accountability Office, seniors lose an estimated $2.9 billion a year to financial exploitation through a variety of schemes. Earlier this year, Senator Collins held a hearing to update the public on the efforts of law enforcement fighting these crimes and released the 2017 Fraud Book, a comprehensive resource that describes many common scams.
Seniors who have been the victims of fraud or who would like tips on how to protect themselves from being targeted should contact the Aging Committee’s Fraud Hotline at 1-855-303-9470.