Tester’s Bipartisan Bill to Stop Scams Targeting Montana Seniors Clears U.S. Senate

Senator’s legislation pushing the Federal Trade Commission to better prevent fraud aimed at the elderly moves to House of Representatives

In a big win for Montana seniors who are more likely to be the target of malicious scams, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today celebrated the Senate’s passage of his bipartisan Senior Fraud Prevention Act.

Tester’s legislation will direct 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.

“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,” said Tester. “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.”

The Government Accountability Office reports that scams cost seniors an estimated $2.9 billion annually. 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 has proven himself a tried and true advocate for Montana’s seniors, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He recently secured nearly $1 million to help seniors with Alzheimer’s in Missoula and Ravalli Counties remain independent, and he secured more than $300,000 in pandemic relief funding for older Montanans this spring. He also worked to bring more than $5.5 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to critical Montana programs that will help seniors stay healthy and safe during the crisis.