Rochester, N.Y. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today stood with seniors in Rochester 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.
“It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where unscrupulous individuals would seek to take advantage of our senior citizens and steal the retirement funds that they’ve worked their entire lives to save,” said Mayor Lovely Warren. “The Senior Financial Empowerment Act will give us more tools to protect our senior citizens and ensure that they fully reap the benefits of our efforts to bring safer and more vibrant neighborhoods, along with more jobs and better educational opportunities, to every citizen of Rochester.”
“We sincerely thank Senator Gillibrand for her dedicated work on behalf of our seniors, whom we also care for and serve with open arms at our YMCA branches and alongside our partner Lifespan — whereas we together promote successful aging by providing an engaging atmosphere encompassing mind, body and spirit. We support all efforts that make senior wellness a priority, from physical and mental health to financial stability and financial confidence. With resources at their fingertips, our seniors can feel empowered to report concerns and take a stand,” said George Romell, President & CE, YMCA of Greater Rochester.
“Every day older New Yorkers fall victim to unscrupulous scammers who not only rob them of their money, but also their future security. This type of crime is an epidemic, but unfortunately many older adults are too scared and too ashamed to report these crimes. The Senior Financial Empowerment Act, proposed by Senator Gillibrand, would ensure that older adults and their caregivers have critical information regarding financial abuse, standardize and improve the way elder financial abuse is reported, and establish a national hotline that would advise people on where and how to report fraud. I also applaud efforts to provide more resources to combat financial exploitation of older adults before it happens. I want to thank Senator Gillibrand for taking the lead to help all older adults,” said Ann Marie Cook, President/CEO of Lifespan.
“Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York works everyday to protect our seniors from scams by utilizing our Scam Tracker tool to identify scams targeting the elderly, issuing alerts to the public through the media, and working with law enforcement partners to help stop the scams,” said Warren Clark, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York. “We look forward to working with Senator Gillibrand on her new initiative.”