White Plains, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today stood at the Lanza Family Center for All Ages to announce the Senior Financial Empowerment Act, new legislation to protect seniors from financial fraud.
“Senior fraud is a destructive and dangerous crime, in which scammers prey on vulnerable citizens, steal their personal information, and harm them financially with very few consequences,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Under the current system, when seniors report these crimes, the information often isn’t shared with the proper authorities, and scammers are able to continue committing these crimes against other seniors. We need to do everything we can to prevent and fight back against senior fraud. This new legislation would give seniors the resources they need to be educated about this crime and tools to get help if they have been a victim of this crime.”
Every year, it is estimated that tens of thousands of seniors in New York are victims of financial scams and abuse. The Senior Financial Empowerment Act would ensure that seniors and their caregivers have critical information regarding financial abuse, standardize and improve the way elder financial abuse is reported, establish a national hotline that would advise seniors on where and how to report fraud, and provide more resources to combat financial exploitation of older adults before it happens.
“The heartbreaking reality is too many older Americans are taken advantage of by vicious financial scams, sometimes destroying a lifetime of hard-earned savings,” said Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey, Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee. “The federal government must do more to protect our seniors from fraud and abuse. I look forward to working with Senator Gillibrand and officials at all levels of government to ensure the financial security of hardworking Americans and to protect them from the schemes of criminals and con-artists.”
“Senator Gillibrand’s legislation will provide a critical tool for protecting older adults from the devastating effects of financial fraud,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “I share Senator Gillibrand’s concern about this important issue and have made prosecuting fraudsters who target seniors a top priority. I applaud Senator Gillibrand for her leadership in proposing the Senior Financial Empowerment Act.”
“Our elderly population are among the most vulnerable people we serve at Family Services of Westchester,” said Susan Wayne, President and CEO, Family Services of Westchester. “The isolation that is often a tragic consequence of aging breeds opportunity for unscrupulous individuals who prey on our elderly in devious and insidious ways. Scams and fraud involving older people are all too common and often go grossly underreported or ignored. We at FSW work hard to prevent these scams and fraud from happening, but it is not an easy task. We are very grateful to Senator Gillibrand for being a leading advocate for the elderly and proposing legislation that will help to end fraud and scams perpetrated on this vulnerable population.”
“For over a decade, Pace Women’s Justice Center has provided legal services to thousands of victims of elder abuse in Westchester County. In addition to economic instability, financial abuse negatively effects both the emotional and physical well-being of older adults,” said Cindy J. Kanusher, Esq., Executive Director, Pace Women’s Justice Center. “Communities thrive when everyone is safe. We proudly support The Senior Financial Empowerment Act, and applaud Sen. Gillibrand’s efforts to keep older adults safe.”
“As the primary provider of free civil legal services in Westchester County and the Hudson Valley, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) applauds any initiative that seeks to protect our seniors from fraud or financial abuse, “ said Barbara Finkelstein, Chief Executive Officer of Legal Services of the Hudson Valley. “Financial fraud is the fastest growing form of elder abuse and LSHV is committed to assisting seniors who fall prey to this abuse.”