To help protect our older adults from fraud, it takes a joint effort by local, state and federal officials.
On many occasions, seniors have worked their whole life and have accumulated retirement savings to help them live comfortably. Sadly, due to no fault of their own, a sophisticated scam or scheme can drain their savings account overnight.
Due to the sacrifices seniors made over the years to set aside retirement savings, they are the number one target of fraudsters. Thankfully, Arkansas State Senator Jonathan Dismang and Representative Carlton Wing decided to do something about it and teamed up with Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. The trio did a remarkable job crafting HB1391 to stop the financial exploitation of our elderly Arkansans!
In a 2019 U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing, it was reported that seniors lose an estimated $3 billion annually to financial scams across the United States. What is even more troubling, most of these crimes against older adults are unreported, according to the Government Accountability Office. The Senate Aging Committee Chair, Senator Susan Collins said, "Stopping these scam artists requires a coordinated response from all levels of our government and the private sector, but alert citizens will always be the best line of defense."
Arkansas stepped up big time introducing a bill that will make life much tougher for criminals targeting senior citizens. With cases involving scams against Arkansans 60 plus quadrupling over the last 3 years, this legislation could not come at a better time.
The Safer AR Act: Safeguarding Against Financial Exploitation of Retirees for Arkansans will protect seniors against predatory practices by creating an impressive reporting system involving financial institutions and investigative authorities. Representative Wing was inspired to sponsor the bill in the House after his Sunday school teacher was duped by a fraudster. "In the later stages of her life she fell victim to a trick-somebody had convinced her that she won the lottery, and what happened was a huge financial ruin as it went deeper and deeper," Wing said. Along with investigations being launched faster, this legislation will also help banks stop transactions.
Attorney General Rutledge said, "All too often Arkansans over the age of 60 are being targeted and exploited by scam artists trying to steal their life savings." This bill develops protocols between state agencies and the Attorney Generals Office to make it possible for swifter action against con artists or caregivers engaging in fraud.
If you would like more information to help avoid scams, you can contact Attorney General Rutledge's Office at [email protected] or visit the ArkansasAG.gov website to learn more.