KHQ: Bill protecting elderly from scams passes in U.S. Senate

A bipartisan bill aimed to protect seniors from falling victim to scams was approved in the U.S. Senate Monday.

The Senior Fraud Prevention Act will set up an office with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to fight against scammers attacking senior citizens, educate seniors and their families on how to spot fraud and improve scam reporting systems, a release from Sen. Jon Tester says.

“We’ve seen an unprecedented increase in scams targeting Montana’s older generations in the last few years, and so far Washington hasn’t done nearly enough to put an end to it,” Tester said in his release. “One in four seniors contacted by scammers end up losing money, and during these trying times, Montanans can’t afford to lose a dime. I’m happy to see my bipartisan bill clear this hurdle, and I urge the House to bring it up for a vote as quickly as possible so we can give some much needed peace of mind to our elderly and their families.”

Tester’s release says according to the Government Accountability Office, senior citizens lose approximately $2.9 billion per year due to scams.

“According to the FTC, one in four seniors contacted by scammers ended up sending them money in 2018-losing an average of $9,000 each. That is up from just one in 14 seniors the year before,” Tester’s release continues.

The bill will advance to the U.S. House of Representatives.