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house Bill H.R. 446

Should the Federal Trade Commission Report On & Increase Awareness of Scams Targeting Seniors?

Argument in favor

Scams targeting older adults, which cost billions per year, are harmful to some of the most vulnerable members of American society. The Federal Trade Commission should lead federal efforts by other governmental agencies to identify and prevent these despicable scams with help from nongovernmental organizations.

larubia's Opinion
···
last Wednesday
Better yet: 1. Make the no call list effective, again 2. Prosecute, without mercy, anyone who scams people out of their hard earned dollars. 3. Those scammers targeting seniors, get an additional 10 year prison sentence on top of whatever the maximum penalty may be You don’t need a study...it’s a problem. My mom has been staying with me because of a broken hip. Every day she gets calls from “social security”, “the IRS”, some “legal entity” looking for information, otherwise she may “end up in prison” or “paying large sums of money”. I can’t tell you the number of times she has asked me if the caller is a scam or is legitimate. She suffers from brain damage & it’s easy for her to be confused/scared. I know she’s not alone.
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jimK's Opinion
···
last Wednesday
Yes protect seniors from scammers. Since my wife and I became eligible for Medicare we have been getting incessant calls from faked caller ID numbers on our wired home phone and on each of our cell phones. There were multiple notices that we had fraudulent purchases on Amazon, that we were selected to get about $240/mo of programming for $65, or $75 or $73.99 per month for two full years (depending upon the caller), multiple zero interest no-fee credit cards, recorded notices that our credit cards were used for fraudulent purchases, a couple of calls that my grandson needed bail money to be released from lock-up and he was afraid to call his parents (they hung up when I asked which one), more than numerous calls from Medicare rip off peddlers offering free braces from Medicare to treat our pain because we could get them for free (Sorry, I have no desire to rip off Medicare so they can collect a fee for getting me a brace which I do not need) and robo-callers claiming to be from the IRS or Social garnishment due to fraud or pending suspension of Social security if we do not press one to be connected to an agent. … … … And, hard to forget the never ending calls from pretty much any worthy cause for donations, I mean three or four different fireman funds, as many police funds, and gazillions of charitable funds. … … … It has got to the point where we no longer answer the wired home phone unless we know the caller and figure that anything that might be important will come with a phone message. I do talk to a few and ask questions which they cannot answer until they just hang up. I know a lot of people my age who could easily get convinced to give a credit card or other information to some compelling fraudster. Oh, another tip - never say ‘yes’ to any question asked by unknown human caller because a recording of your ‘yes’ can be pasted into an answer to some other question. If they ask, ‘is this mr xx’ my answer would not be ‘yes’ but rather ‘it is’. … … … I used to have great fun with people calling for campaign donations for Republican candidates. I kind of miss their calls. … … … Protections are needed.
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Frank-001's Opinion
···
last Wednesday
Someone wrote "I am a senior citizen, and I don't need you to develop more laws when you don't enforce the ones on the books to protect us from scammers!" Perhaps, but I think you might want to do some due diligence before letting a cynical point of view deprive you of some measure of security. Today one might have great mental clarity, but for some of us, capacity diminishes with age over time. For some, change is quick; for others, it is slow and very insidious I have seen it happen to my maternal grandmother, my mother, and one of my uncles. My grandmother's and uncle's dementia were slow in coming. It started with “understandable” disorientation and forgetfulness. For my mom, it started slowly. She seemed to have become quite the contrarian believing in fabrications and began to misunderstand things, but that accelerated quite rapidly into disorientation of many types. The results of dementia & Alzheimer's Disease are devastating and heartbreaking. Victims may or may not realize or sense they have dementia but at the same time deal with cognitive losses by faking things. People should take some time and do some reading. Besides reading, spend time in an assisted living facility and a nursing home. Many across the political spectrum say senior citizens deserve special treatment because enough of them (us?) have been taken advantage of. I agree that local laws should be scrupulously enforced, but, given the inconsistency of state and local laws and sloppiness of enforcement around the country, even in "Blue States” like NYS, it is far better to have a comprehensive set of federal laws specifically protecting seniors as well. As for duplication, that is a bogus argument. Laws may be similar but are never identical. I much prefer that a District Attorney have a choice of protective laws that may be applied to a case rather than one poorly framed law coming out of a committee on which scammers have been lobbying for leniency or outright exemptions. [Edited.]
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Argument opposed

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as nongovernmental organizations such as the National Council on Aging, already provide resources and information to help older adults identify and protect themselves against scams. Given those resources, there’s no need to create duplicative efforts at the FTC.

Freethinker's Opinion
···
last Wednesday
Simply because it appears we already have this as I was able to pull up an FTC site regarding this exact topic. Doesn’t seem to be practical to have duplicate legislation or legislation where there’s already resources available but maybe I’m missing something? Just think their time maybe more useful in other matters.
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Brian's Opinion
···
last Wednesday
We should strengthen the CFPB and prevent it from being weakened by a hostile administration, so that it is fully equipped and empowered to do this. The FTC can support, but since this is about consumers, it seems more appropriate to be under CFPB.
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Bruce's Opinion
···
last Wednesday
Yes. We do need to protect all our citizens especially the most vulnerable. This absolutely includes senior citizens. What we need are NOT always more laws. What we need are the resources physical, online, and the personnel in those agencies who can best do the job. In this case, putting a strong, knowledgeable, progressive person at the head of the FTC. Then, give him/her the resources to make the NO CALL LIST actually work! And monitor online scams AND actually shut them down. Get another good leader--someone Katie Porter-- to head the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. There are plenty of agencies which could contribute to this--All they need are the right people and a bit of money--not even that much money!
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What is House Bill H.R. 446?

This bill — the Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act — would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report on and increase awareness of scams targeting older adults.

The FTC would be required to:

  • Report on the number and types of scams that target older adults, and provide policy recommendations to prevent these scams;
  • Revise its web portal with current information about scams targeting older adults, including contact information for law enforcement and adult protective services agencies; and
  • Coordinate with media outlets and law enforcement to disseminate information about scams targeting older adults.

Impact

Seniors; scammers targeting seniors; scams targeting older adults; the Federal Trade Commission (FTC); and media outlets and law enforcement cooperating with the FTC to disseminate information about scams targeting older adults.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 446

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL) reintroduced this legislation from the 116th Congress to direct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report to Congress on the number and types of scams targeting seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic and to make recommendations on how to prevent scams targeting seniors during the pandemic and future emergencies. In a series of tweets on January 26, 2021, Rep. Kelly said:

“I just reintroduced a bill to stop con artists from shamelessly preying on the COVID-19 fears of older Americans. My Protecting Seniors From Emergency Scams Act will help stop scammers from targeting seniors during the pandemic & future crises by empowering them with facts & information through the FTC web portal, media outlets and law enforcement agencies.”

After this bill passed the House as part of the Fraud and Scam Reduction Act (H.R. 2610) in the 116th Congress, Rep. Kelly said:

“Our senior citizens have borne the brunt of this pandemic. Now, scammers are targeting older Americans and preying on their COVID-19 fears. We have a moral obligation to stop these con artists by empowering seniors with facts and information while aggressively targeting criminals with all available FTC resources.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), sponsor of this bill’s Senate companion in both the previous and current Congressional sessions, says:

“We must ensure that seniors are not being taken advantage of during the coronavirus pandemic. All Americans deserve safety and dignity in their senior years, yet new fraudulent schemes designed to target seniors appear almost daily. This bipartisan legislation will help protect seniors from fraud during this public health crisis and help prevent emergency-related scams in the future.”

The American Society on Aging supports this legislation. Its National Coordinator, Bob Blancato, says:

“We strongly support the introduction of the Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act.  It is a tragedy that this legislation is even needed but in communities across our nation we find vulnerable older adults being victimized by heartless scam artists operating during a pandemic. Sens. Klobuchar and Moran are to be commended for introducing this legislation which needs to be approved as quickly as possible so more older adults are not defrauded and left in a perilous financial state.”

This legislation has eight bipartisan House cosponsors, including six Democrats and two Republicans. Its Senate companion, sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), has two bipartisan Senate cosponsors (one from each party). 

In the previous Congressional session, this legislation had seven bipartisan House cosponsors, including five Republicans and two Democrats, and passed the House by voice vote as part of the Fraud and Scam Reduction Act (H.R. 2610). The Senate companion, sponsored by Sen. Klobuchar, had two bipartisan Senate cosponsors (one from each party). Neither bill received a committee vote.

A number of advocacy organizations for older Americans, including the Elder Justice Coalition, National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA), and AARP, support this legislation.


Of NoteThe Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that scams targeting older adults cost the economy billions per year. The National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) reports that Adult Protective Services agencies have seen an increase in reports of scams and financial exploitation during the pandemic.

The FTC partners with groups including the AARP, Better Bureau Bureau (BBB), State Attorneys General’s offices, the Dept. of Justice, Congressional offices, and the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Council on Aging (NCOA) and other organizations, such as state attorney’s generals, provide information about avoiding scams and fraud for older adults.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / SIphotography)

AKA

Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act

Official Title

To require the Federal Trade Commission to submit a report to Congress on scams targeting seniors, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed April 15th, 2021
    Roll Call Vote 413 Yea / 8 Nay
      house Committees
      Consumer Protection and Commerce
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
    IntroducedJanuary 25th, 2021

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    Better yet: 1. Make the no call list effective, again 2. Prosecute, without mercy, anyone who scams people out of their hard earned dollars. 3. Those scammers targeting seniors, get an additional 10 year prison sentence on top of whatever the maximum penalty may be You don’t need a study...it’s a problem. My mom has been staying with me because of a broken hip. Every day she gets calls from “social security”, “the IRS”, some “legal entity” looking for information, otherwise she may “end up in prison” or “paying large sums of money”. I can’t tell you the number of times she has asked me if the caller is a scam or is legitimate. She suffers from brain damage & it’s easy for her to be confused/scared. I know she’s not alone.
    Like (47)
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    We should strengthen the CFPB and prevent it from being weakened by a hostile administration, so that it is fully equipped and empowered to do this. The FTC can support, but since this is about consumers, it seems more appropriate to be under CFPB.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes protect seniors from scammers. Since my wife and I became eligible for Medicare we have been getting incessant calls from faked caller ID numbers on our wired home phone and on each of our cell phones. There were multiple notices that we had fraudulent purchases on Amazon, that we were selected to get about $240/mo of programming for $65, or $75 or $73.99 per month for two full years (depending upon the caller), multiple zero interest no-fee credit cards, recorded notices that our credit cards were used for fraudulent purchases, a couple of calls that my grandson needed bail money to be released from lock-up and he was afraid to call his parents (they hung up when I asked which one), more than numerous calls from Medicare rip off peddlers offering free braces from Medicare to treat our pain because we could get them for free (Sorry, I have no desire to rip off Medicare so they can collect a fee for getting me a brace which I do not need) and robo-callers claiming to be from the IRS or Social garnishment due to fraud or pending suspension of Social security if we do not press one to be connected to an agent. … … … And, hard to forget the never ending calls from pretty much any worthy cause for donations, I mean three or four different fireman funds, as many police funds, and gazillions of charitable funds. … … … It has got to the point where we no longer answer the wired home phone unless we know the caller and figure that anything that might be important will come with a phone message. I do talk to a few and ask questions which they cannot answer until they just hang up. I know a lot of people my age who could easily get convinced to give a credit card or other information to some compelling fraudster. Oh, another tip - never say ‘yes’ to any question asked by unknown human caller because a recording of your ‘yes’ can be pasted into an answer to some other question. If they ask, ‘is this mr xx’ my answer would not be ‘yes’ but rather ‘it is’. … … … I used to have great fun with people calling for campaign donations for Republican candidates. I kind of miss their calls. … … … Protections are needed.
    Like (34)
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    Share
    Someone wrote "I am a senior citizen, and I don't need you to develop more laws when you don't enforce the ones on the books to protect us from scammers!" Perhaps, but I think you might want to do some due diligence before letting a cynical point of view deprive you of some measure of security. Today one might have great mental clarity, but for some of us, capacity diminishes with age over time. For some, change is quick; for others, it is slow and very insidious I have seen it happen to my maternal grandmother, my mother, and one of my uncles. My grandmother's and uncle's dementia were slow in coming. It started with “understandable” disorientation and forgetfulness. For my mom, it started slowly. She seemed to have become quite the contrarian believing in fabrications and began to misunderstand things, but that accelerated quite rapidly into disorientation of many types. The results of dementia & Alzheimer's Disease are devastating and heartbreaking. Victims may or may not realize or sense they have dementia but at the same time deal with cognitive losses by faking things. People should take some time and do some reading. Besides reading, spend time in an assisted living facility and a nursing home. Many across the political spectrum say senior citizens deserve special treatment because enough of them (us?) have been taken advantage of. I agree that local laws should be scrupulously enforced, but, given the inconsistency of state and local laws and sloppiness of enforcement around the country, even in "Blue States” like NYS, it is far better to have a comprehensive set of federal laws specifically protecting seniors as well. As for duplication, that is a bogus argument. Laws may be similar but are never identical. I much prefer that a District Attorney have a choice of protective laws that may be applied to a case rather than one poorly framed law coming out of a committee on which scammers have been lobbying for leniency or outright exemptions. [Edited.]
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    You can start by banning those scam calls we get *every. single. day.* about a car warranty. Those calls amount to harassment because they call from dozens of different phone numbers so it’s hard to block them and they refuse to put you on their do not call list.
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    They prey on the most vulnerable. May them themselves grow old and vulnerable very soon.
    Like (13)
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    I voted yes, but a report only is insufficient. Taking steps to actually protect seniors from scams would be better. Making the no call list actually functional would help. Prosecuting scammers would be another.
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    Congress initially approved phone scammers and telemarketers to call just our home phone. Then one or two years later Congress allowed our cellphones to be called. Since that day even though we put our home phone and cellphones on the NATIONAL DO NOT CALL LIST operated by the Federal Government and regardless we get at least 10 scam spam phone calls per week wanting to sell us extended warranties for our cars or to lower our credit card rates or to inform us that our social security number has been suspended or canceled due to fraudulent activities or the government due to Coronavirus has made it where our student loans which in my case I never had one can be paid off or lowered. The calls keep on coming from spoofed numbers. I live in a town in Louisiana population about 6000 people counting children. The call will come from my area code and even the prefix is the same as mine but the last four numbers change with each call. So if you look at it the Social Security Administration agent notifying me my Social Security number has been cancelled is sitting in Washington DC with a cellphone from my city. This allowing people to call our cellphones is not only a nuisance but a real chance for a senior to be scammed. Do away with their ability to call any cellphone and if they do they will be tracked down and fined $1000 per phone call and ten years without parole in prison. After you catch the first hundred and prosecute them it should stop quickly. It will take the carriers like Verizon and AT&T etc to corporate with the federal government. I should be able to give you the time and date and phone number called and by what number and the cellphone company should be able to tell you the none spoofed number that really made the call. STOP THE MADNESS
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    Absolutely!
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    I get 35 robo calls per day. They start at 8:00 am and end at 7:00pm. There is nothing you can do to make them stop. I have been on the Do Not Call List since 1997 so that does not even work, if you are funding it. I just got a card in the mail from (maybe my car insurance company) that is what it looks like. It is a 20.00 gift card for Amazon. I was recently called and told that my Amazon account had been compromised and I need to contact them. I have done nothing. So sick of this constant barrage of crooked crap!
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    This is despicable!, once my husband and I became eligible for Medicare, I started getting calls about my computer from somewhere (?India) saying that they could “fix” the problems I was having. I told them I wasn’t having problems. They insisted they could improve the speed if I would just give my email and computer passwords to them so they could “look” at my computer. That’s when I hung up. We no longer have land line. Our cell phones silence unknown callers but if they want to leave a message they can and we can call legitimate callers back. The junk mail directed at seniors is voluminous! Hearing aids, cemetery plots, rest homes, reverse mortgage schemes, it’s oppressive. There’s a great article in the April AARP Bulletin “Inside The Fraud Factory” that I recommend.
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    I get scam emails and phone calls all the time. I don't know if being a senior is the reason or part of the reason, but those scammers need to be exposed for what they are. They must be fooling some people, or they would quit and find a different way to steal.
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    I hate being a target
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    I can't speak to specific bills or parts of bills but I am grateful to Congressman Delgado for supporting a bill to protect seniors from scam calls. I do believe we should all be protected from Scam calls and that Scammers should be fully prosecuted. They not only try to hook us into shady or unwanted contracts, but the poison people about receiving calls at all. This makes it hard for honest volunteers for either a civics or community-minded group to reach out without distrust or even abusive behavior from the person being called. No wonder. They have no way to know who is real and who is not. And seniors are so vulnerable. My 94 year old mom is smart as a win but does have trouble knowing what is real and what is scam over media. And I agree with a Countable member who said let's give our judges an array of good laws to choose from that might pertain to prosecuting any number of different situations and scammers.
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    Not only are these calls annoying and potentially damaging but also steps taken to resist unwanted callers cause me to miss important calls from medical providers or others whose number is not in my contact list.
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    While reporting on this problem is a good idea, I would prefer that Congress do something about it. Make the study quick and then use the data to act on it.
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    Thank you, Rep August Pfluger, TX-11, for doing the Right Thing in protecting the seniors in our District!! You finally did something right!! Having the FTC send a report to Congress on people trying to scam seniors so they can be stopped will help those vulnerable older folks keep the money they’ve worked for their whole lives in their pockets instead of the pockets of thieves. Keep up the good choices and you might become redeemable!
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    Seniors like me are more vulnerable!
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    I hear frequently from my fellow Seniors about their having been the victims of various scams of all types, including identity theft, phone and email scams, fraud, robberies, and a plethora of cyber crimes. Government agencies should report statistics on these crimes and seek ways to inform the public about frequent crime targeted at Senior and raise awareness of this issue.
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    Yes. We do need to protect all our citizens especially the most vulnerable. This absolutely includes senior citizens. What we need are NOT always more laws. What we need are the resources physical, online, and the personnel in those agencies who can best do the job. In this case, putting a strong, knowledgeable, progressive person at the head of the FTC. Then, give him/her the resources to make the NO CALL LIST actually work! And monitor online scams AND actually shut them down. Get another good leader--someone Katie Porter-- to head the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. There are plenty of agencies which could contribute to this--All they need are the right people and a bit of money--not even that much money!
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
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