The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act will help fight scams designed to rob seniors of their assets by educating seniors about fraud schemes and improving monitoring and response to fraud complaints
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Susan Collins (R-ME) reintroduced their bipartisan legislation to crack down on fraud targeting seniors. 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 while also improving 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).
“All Americans deserve safety and dignity in their senior years, but too often, older Americans are the targets of deceptive scams,” Klobuchar said. “New schemes designed to defraud seniors appear almost daily and can have serious consequences, such as wiping out a person’s entire life savings. This bipartisan legislation is a critical step towards combating fraud targeting seniors by identifying scams and educating consumers to prevent more seniors from falling victim to these tactics.”
“Raising awareness—particularly among older Americans who are more likely to be targeted by financial scams—is key to protecting seniors’ hard-earned savings,” Collins said. “The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act would help 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.”
"Seniors are often the biggest targets for scammers trying to confuse and cheat them to give up money and personal information. We need a stronger federal effort to track, target, and warn against these fraudulent schemes. This bill will strengthen important consumer protections to help seniors protect their assets,” Deutch said.
“Seniors have worked their entire lives with the promise of a safe and secure retirement. Unfortunately, criminals are taking advantage of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and working overtime to target them. Scams targeting the elderly threaten more than retirement accounts – they imperil the independence and trust of an already vulnerable community. We must do everything we can to safeguard the savings and dignity of Americans as they enter their golden years against those who try to defraud them,” Buchanan said.
“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. Our bill would give the federal government additional resources to alert seniors of fraudulent schemes and help stop these criminals in their tracks. This is a bipartisan, commonsense proposal that should be passed immediately,” Welch said.
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 will 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. Last Congress, the legislation passed the House and Senate.
As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and Chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to protect consumers from fraud and support seniors during the coronavirus pandemic.
In January, Klobuchar and Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) reintroduced 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.
Klobuchar and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) also reintroduced 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.
Last 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.
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