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Two senators Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation designed to curb scams targeting seniors during the Senate Committee on Aging’s first hearing of the 116th Congress, “Fighting Elder Fraud: Progress Made, Work to Be Done”.

The legislation, Stop Senior Scams Act introduced by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Bob Casey (D-PA), ranking member of the aging committee, would create a federal advisory council comprised of government officials, industry representatives, and consumer advocates to develop educational materials on the behalf of financial institutions and the retail and wire transfer industries. In turn, these materials will be used to train their employees to identify and report cases of elder fraud and to the proper authorities.

The hearing dialogue focused on developing proactive approaches to address elder fraud as well as compelling witness accounts from local and state organizations. Testimonies came from Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, local level law enforcement, and an elder justice consultant.

Additionally, the daughter of a couple scammed via the “Grandparents Scam” – a method used by scam artists who pretend to be the grandchild of the targeted individual and claim that they are in trouble and seek money, typically through money wire transfers – spoke of how her parents were swindled out of their retirement savings.

Newly appointed committee members also were present including: U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Josh Hawley (R-OH), Mike Braun (R-IN) and Rick Scott (R-FL).

The Senate Special Committee on Aging offers a Fraud Hotline, toll-free at 1-855-303-9470 or consumers can submit complaints online. The 2018 Fraud Report is available here.

In related news this week, a Social Security Administration official alerted colleagues via email that she has become aware of reports of fraudulent telephone calls from individuals claiming to represent the SSA.

“Unknown callers are using threatening language to warn unknowing victims that they will be arrested or face other legal action if they fail to call a provided phone number or press the number indicated in the message to address the issue,” wrote Acting Deputy Associate Commissioner Dawn Bystry.

She encourages the public to report any suspicious calls to Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General by calling 1-800-269-0271 or submitting a report on the OIG website.

 

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