The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act will help fight scams designed to rob seniors of their assets by helping educate seniors about fraud schemes, and improve monitoring and response to fraud complaints
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Susan Collins (R-ME) announced that their legislation to crack down on fraud targeting seniors has passed the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act will 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. The legislation is led in the House by Representatives by Ted Deutch (D-FL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and Peter Welch (D-VT).
“We must ensure all Americans have safety and dignity in their senior years, especially as we confront the coronavirus pandemic.” Klobuchar said. “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.”
“As Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, protecting seniors from fraud and abuse is one of my top priorities,” Collins said. “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.”
"Scams targeting seniors are becoming increasingly sophisticated and deceptive,” Congressman Ted Deutch said. “To protect our seniors, many of whom live on fixed incomes and could lose a life's worth of savings, we need a stronger response in tracking, targeting, and warning against new scams. I hope the Senate will move quickly on this bill that could help seniors protect their assets."
“Scams targeting the elderly are growing at a disturbing rate and need to be addressed by Congress,” Congressman Vern Buchanan. “I’m pleased the House has passed our bill and hope it will be signed into law before the end of the year. Passing this bill would be a big step forward to protecting seniors and combating fraud.”
“Every day, in Vermont and across this country, vulnerable seniors are being ripped off by scam artists. It’s not uncommon for their victims to lose their life’s savings,” Congressman Peter Welch said. “I am pleased that the House has passed this important bill and hope that it will soon be signed into law so that the FTC has the resources it needs to alert seniors of fraudulent schemes and help stop these criminals in their tracks.”
The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act will 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 monitoring and response to fraud complaints. The bill will 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. Klobuchar and Collins 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 a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to protect consumers from fraud and support seniors during the coronavirus pandemic.
In May, Klobuchar and Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced legislation to protect seniors from scams during the coronavirus pandemic. The Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report to Congress on scams targeting seniors during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and make recommendations on how to prevent future scams during emergencies.
In March, Klobuchar and Moran led a bipartisan letter with 32 colleagues urging FTC Chairman Joseph Simons to protect seniors from coronavirus-related scams, better inform consumers about scams, and assist victims in understanding their recourse options to ensure that seniors are protected from those attempting to financially exploit them during the pandemic.
In March, Klobuchar and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced legislation to increase seniors’ virtual connection to health care and their communities during the coronavirus pandemic. The Advancing Connectivity during the Coronavirus to Ensure Support for Seniors (ACCESS) Act would make federal funding available to expand telehealth and virtual services at nursing facilities so that seniors remain connected to their health care providers and communities when in-person visits are limited during the pandemic.