With Seniors Hardest-Hit by Foreclosure Scams, CFPB Launch Should Help

Older Americans are the hardest hit by foreclosure rescue scams, in what amounts to a total of more than $40 million in losses from fees paid to fraudulent and deceptive “rescuers,” says an issue brief from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Scams targeting the population of those who are ages 51 and older account for 41% of that total, amounting to more than $16.5 million as of July 2011.

The launch of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which took place Thursday, is a step in the right direction, the Lawyers’ Committee said last week.

“We are particularly encouraged to see that one of the CFPB’s specific initiatives includes its Office of Older Americans, set to begin operations early next year,” the Lawyers’ Committee said in a statement. “The Lawyers’ Committee is proud of our recent successes in advocating for consumers’ rights, and looks forward to the increased transparency that the CFPB’s regulatory and information-sharing capabilities will provide.”

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The CFPB is currently building its Office of Older Americans, aimed to connect seniors with what they need to guide themselves through their financial lives. The office will be up and running under the Dodd-Frank Act by January 21, 2012. “We are building it right alongside the rest of the consumer bureau, and in the coming weeks and months you’ll hear more from us about financial issues for seniors,” the agency notes on its website.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker