Massena, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today stood at the Massena Senior Citizens Center 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 the tools they need to get help if they have been a victim of fraud.”
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 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.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, “Fraud against older Americans is a serious, pervasive problem, and my office is committed to fighting those who prey on our seniors. Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, I am also committed to making every resource available to seniors so they can better spot fraud and deception before they are victimized.”
“When I served 27 years as a police officer, one of the most frustrating issues I often dealt with was people taking advantage of senior citizens and stealing from them,” said Timmy J. Currier, Mayor of the Village of Massena. “In most cases there was very little we could do. Senator Gillibrand is looking to change this, and this legislation will go a long way to do so.”
“I’m thankful Sen. Gillibrand is taking time out her very busy to come to Massena to discuss this very important issue. Our seniors have spent their lifetimes building our communities and helping others,” said Joseph D. Gray, Massena Town Supervisor. “It is hard to believe bad people seek to take advantage of them. But by increasing awareness and offering them help, we can go a long way toward protecting them from these predators.”
“The St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office applauds the action being taken by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand with this new legislation that is designed to enhance the protections provided to our Seniors in the area of Fraud, Scams and personal information theft,” said Kevin Wells, Sheriff, St. Lawrence County. “This enhancement and focus on this expansive issue is necessary as the victims many times are some of our most vulnerable citizens. As Sheriff I am proud to stand with the Senator as the Senior Financial Empowerment Act moves forward and these tools become available.”
“There is currently very little Law Enforcement can do for the victims of these growing scams,” said Adam J. Love, Chief of Police, Massena Police Department. “It is great to see legislation being introduced to assist Law Enforcement with different means to help stop seniors from becoming victims.”
“On behalf of the St. Lawrence County Office for the Aging, I am grateful for the much needed spotlight Senator Gillibrand is placing on this critical issue facing older adults in our community,” said Andrea Montgomery, Director of the St. Lawrence County Office for the Aging. “Too many seniors in our rural, upstate County have fallen victim to these crimes. I offer my full support, partnership, and assistance to the passing of this vital legislation.”