At Senate Banking Hearing, Tester Highlights Consumer Fraud Concerns in Montana

Senator: “I don’t think anybody is immune from consumer fraud”

As part of his longstanding efforts to protect Montanans’ hard-earned money, U.S. Senator Jon Tester spoke at a Senate Banking Committee hearing this week to highlight concerns from Montanans who have been victimized by consumer fraud and asked officials what additional resources would help crack down on these scams.

During his remarks, Tester emphasized that Montanans frequently contact his office to receive assistance after becoming the victim of consumer fraud: “I don’t think anybody is immune from consumer fraud. I certainly have experienced it personally at a time when I was very young and could least afford it. Montanans reach out to me literally daily about these problems. Constituents have paid for services online that they never receive, or bad actors overseas claiming they’re something that really doesn’t exist. And luckily, we were able to connect them with the FBI or other resources. But these are tough times for people to go through.”

Tester noted that he has supported bipartisan efforts in the Senate to crack down on these scams, and asked officials what additional resources would be most helpful for law enforcement: “We need to be proactive, and we all need to be on the same page. I think all the stakeholders need to bear some responsibility for what, what goes on here. Mr. Benda, you mentioned bipartisan efforts we’ve taken in the Senate Appropriations Committee to facilitate public-private partnerships to prevent fraud and support law enforcement to combat these people that are probably the lowest forms of life on earth.”

Tester also highlighted his bipartisan legislation that aims to protect Montanan seniors’ retirement funds from fraud and scams: “Senator Haggerty and I have a piece of legislation with other folks on this committee, theFinancial Exploitation Prevention Act, which would help folks who lose their retirement funds, money to scam… With this bill that we have with Senator Haggerty, it looks to prevent fraudulent activity because it’s increased over the years. And so, it allows the account holder, the company, to delay payments if they think fraud is going on. I think it’s a really good bill… I think it could help.”

Tester has been a champion in the Senate for cracking down on financial exploitation and protecting Montanans’ hard-earned money.

Last year, Tester introduced his bipartisan Financial Exploitation Prevention Act to crack down on financial exploitation targeting elderly Americans by giving the financial industry better tools to address suspected financial exploitation and abuse.

In 2022, two of Tester’s bipartisan efforts to crack down on crimes against Montana seniors were signed into law. Tester’s bipartisan Senior Fraud Prevention Act directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish an office that will combat fraud targeting the elderly, educate seniors and their families on how to detect scams, and improve fraud reporting systems. Tester’s bipartisan Stop Senior Scams Act requires the FTC to create an advisory group charged with expanding consumer education, improving industry training, identifying new technology to prevent scams, and developing research on fraud prevention for financial advisers.


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