Financial fraud continues to rob our older Americans of their retirement savings at a record pace.
Thankfully, federal, state, and local law enforcement and public officials have made combating elder financial exploitation a high priority. Just last week, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Susan Collins reintroduced their bipartisan legislation to crack down on fraud targeting older adults, The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act.
In the House of Representatives, an equally passionate bipartisan sponsor team leading the efforts to keep our senior citizens safe with this bill are Representative Ted Deutch, Vern Buchanan, and Peter Welch. "Seniors are often the biggest targets for scammers who are trying to confuse and cheat them to give up money and personal information," according to Florida Congressman Deutch. This legislation should help seniors and their families from becoming victims. "We need a stronger federal effort to track, target and warn against these fraudulent schemes. This bill will help strengthen important consumer protections to help seniors protect their assets," Deutch said.
These two federal officials don't just talk about the national problem our seniors fear, they put their words into action. This bipartisan team has a warrior mentality fighting to protect our vulnerable population year in and year out. Over the last several years since their first introduction, this legislation has made extraordinary progress and has passed both chambers.
The Senior Fraud Prevention Act will go a long way helping combat fraud and scams on our elders. Senator Collins said, "The Senior Fraud and Prevention Act would 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."
The senior population is growing exponentially, and according to the FBI, seniors are losing $3 billion annually. Each year, millions of elderly citizens fall victim to scams. Some of the favorite tricks fraudsters like to pull on older Americans are romance scams, tax scams, the grandparent scam, sweepstakes scams, and lottery scams. The fraud artist is very crafty with his tactics. Once a criminal is successful, the fraudster is likely to continue that scheme until the account is drained. Sadly, seniors are easy targets since they are isolated, trusting, and have savings.
Educating seniors and families about scams and fraud is an important step in fighting these types of crimes. The Senior Fraud Prevention Act directs the Federal Trade Commission to create an office to educate older adults about cleaver fraud schemes. Additionally, it will improve the agency's monitoring capabilities and timely response to complaints.
Many of our advocates and partners know firsthand how years of retirement savings can disappear by one simple phone call. Combating the fraud on older adults has been a top priority for Senator Klobuchar and her colleagues. "Americans deserve safety and dignity of their senior years, but too often, older Americans are targets of deceptive scams," Klobuchar said. We trust all members of Congress agree.