U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced a comprehensive plan to arm seniors with the resources they need to protect themselves from consumer fraud.
According to estimates from to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), one out of five seniors fall victim to fraud. Statewide, approximately half a million New York seniors have fallen victim to consumer fraud – losing approximately $180 million.
“Seniors have spent a lifetime saving and preparing for the golden years, and they deserve financial security and peace of mind,” Senator Gillibrand said. “But far too many seniors are being lured into bad investments, and getting scammed by criminals out of their savings and benefits. Seniors should have confidence that their savings and investments are in the hands of real experts, not criminals. My plan will give states the resources they need to protect seniors, increase penalties to crack down on fraud, and empower seniors to protect themselves.”
The Senior Investor Protection Act would increase penalties for people who commit fraud against seniors, crack down on senior advisor scams, protect social security and veterans benefits from debt collectors, and stop abusive mail, telemarketing and internet fraud against seniors.
To stop combat abusive mail and telemarketing campaigns, the bill directs the FTC to establish a one-stop-shop for consumer education on mail, telemarketing and Internet fraud against seniors. It also establishes a grant program to give states and local organizations the resources they need to initiate local mail, telemarketing and Internet fraud prevention and education programs for seniors;
Last, it would declare a “National Senior Fraud Awareness Week” in May – coordinated with Elder Abuse Awareness Month – to increase public awareness of the enormous impact that mail, telemarketing and Internet fraud have on senior citizens.