Attorney General Bonta Urges Congress to Take Action and Pass Legislation to Protect Our Senior Citizens from Financial Abuse
OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today, as part of a bipartisan multistate coalition, urged the U.S. Senate to support and pass the Fraud and Scam Reduction Act (H.R. 1215), which would establish innovative ways to help combat financial exploitation of senior citizens. Each year, millions of elderly Americans fall victim to some form of financial exploitation. These schemes are often carried out by perpetrators soliciting payments through mail, over the phone, and online. The FBI estimates that nearly $3 billion is lost annually due to elder fraud and scams, and that number is rising rapidly.
“Our senior citizens are the backbone of our society, and they don’t deserve to be the targets of heinous financial exploitation scams,” said Attorney General Bonta. “I am committed to protecting our beloved elders from all forms of abuse, which is why I am urging Congress today to pass H.R. 1215. This bill will help combat the financial abuse of senior citizens through the implementation of educational efforts, as well as the monitoring of emerging frauds and scams.”
Comprised of both the Stop Senior Scams Act and the Seniors Fraud Prevention Act of 2021, H.R. 1215 would establish a Senior Scam Prevention Advisory Group that would report to the Federal Trade Commission. The advisory group would be required to gather and distribute informational materials for retailers, financial services, and wire-transfer companies that educate those industries on how to better identify and prevent elder fraud and financial abuse.
The bill would also establish the Office for the Prevention of Fraud Targeting Seniors within the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. This new office would work in cooperation with other federal agencies and state attorneys general to monitor emerging fraud schemes that target seniors, disseminate information on common fraud schemes, and share information on how to report such activity to the national hotline and the Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network. The Federal Trade Commission would also work with state attorneys general to log and track complaints from victims and coordinate with the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
In sending today’s letter, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Florida, New York, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico.
A copy of the letter can be found here.
Source: Office of the Attorney General of California