Congressman Brian Higgins announced the passage of legislation aimed at protecting older Americans from scams and other fraudulent tactics targeting consumers.
The pandemic has increased incidences of fraudulent activity. The Federal Trade Commission has received nearly 260,000 reports of fraud between January of 2020 and April 2021 totaling over $406.3 million in losses. People over the age of 60 were more likely to lose more money and were less likely to report it.
The House of Representatives approved the following bills, both supported by AARP, safeguarding consumers:
√ H.R.446, the Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act, directs the FTC to create a resource on their website allowing consumers to search for scams targeting seniors based on region. The bill also calls on the FTC to work with media outlets and law enforcement to publicly share information about scams and requires the agency to report on the types of scams and make recommendations to guide Congress in preventing further scams during the pandemic and future national emergencies.
√ H.R.1215, the Fraud and Scam Reduction Act, establishes an office and senior scams prevention advisory group, bringing together the FTC, Treasury Department and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to help gather insights and promote community education to prevent internet, telemarketing and other fraud targeting seniors.
The FBI reports up to $3 billion annually is stolen from seniors in the U.S. due to cases of elder fraud. Those who know or think they have been or are being targeted for a scam can contact the FTC at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/.