Last week, two Florida congressmen got their proposal battling fraud against seniors through the U.S. House.
Back in 2013, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., teamed up with U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., to introduce the “Seniors Fraud Prevention Act” which increases the role of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in monitoring and offering response systems for when seniors are damaged by fraud. They’ve been pushing the bill since then and brought it back in April 2019 with U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., also behind it.
The House passed the bill back in November when Deutch was able to roll his bill into U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., “Stop Senior Scams Act” which passed the House on a voice vote but it did not clear the U.S. Senate. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., have been the Senate champions of the bill, a role they continued the past two years.
Deutch reintroduced the bill back in February with Buchanan’s continued support and they were able to roll it into Rochester’s “Fraud and Scam Reduction Act” which passed the House on a 396-13 vote. The Florida delegation heavily supported the bill with every member of it besides U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., backing it.
“Seniors are often the biggest targets for scams 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,” said Deutch.
“We must do everything we can to protect the savings and dignity of older Americans from the scam artists and con men who try to defraud them,” Buchanan said after the vote.
“This is an important safeguard for seniors who have worked their entire lives with the promise of a safe and secure retirement,” Buchanan added. “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.”
There is a related proposal from U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., in the U.S. Senate.
Estimates show that fraud against senior citizens can cost more than $40 billion a year.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.