Saratoga Springs, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a roundtable meeting with Congressman Paul Tonko and New York seniors to discuss the widespread problem of financial scams targeting seniors. She also announced bipartisan legislation, the Senior Financial Empowerment Act, a bill to help ensure that seniors and their caregivers have access to critical information regarding financial abuse. Gillibrand’s bill would standardize and improve the way senior 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 seniors before it happens.
“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 bipartisan legislation would give seniors the resources they need to be educated about this crime and the tools they need to get help if they have been a victim of fraud.”
“Taking care of America’s seniors is one of our most fundamental values as a nation. That is why we created and continue to strengthen visionary safety net programs such as Social Security and Medicare,” said Congressman Paul Tonko. “Sadly, as we continue to advance into the digital age, scammers and con artists are working harder than ever to target our aging neighbors, friends and loved ones. The Senior Financial Empowerment Act responds to that threat with a renewed commitment that we will protect our elders so that they can live their lives fully and with dignity. I want to thank Senator Gillibrand for her leadership on this critical piece of legislation and look forward to supporting its companion on the House side.”
“Forewarned is forearmed; financial exploitation against seniors is growing fast as our population ages, and providing older New Yorkers and their caregivers the tools to spot and resist frauds and scams is key to fighting this insidious crime,” said Beth Finkel, AARP New York State Director. “AARP applauds Senator Gillibrand for introducing legislation that empowers seniors with practical information, including an easy access point for help if they or their loved ones suspect they’ve been targeted, and guidance to banks and other institutions that are often the first line of defense against financial exploitation.”
Every year, it is estimated that tens of thousands of New York seniors are victims of financial scams and abuse. The Senior Financial Empowerment Act would ensure that seniors and their caregivers have access to critical information regarding financial abuse. The bill would standardize and improve the way senior 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 seniors before it happens.
Senator Gillibrand’s new plan would help protect New York seniors from financial fraud by doing the following:
- Centralizing services for consumer education and data on scams and fraud targeting seniors;
- Improving reporting of suspected instances of elder financial abuse;
- Educating certain entities regarding elder financial abuse;
- Creating a grant program to prevent mail, telemarketing, and internet fraud;
- Directing the National Institutes of Health to conduct scientific research on older adults’ increased vulnerability to scams;
- Designating a National Senior Fraud Awareness Week;
Senator Gillibrand introduced this legislation in the Senate in March of this year.