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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
···
04/14/2021
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
···
04/14/2021
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
···
04/14/2021
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 differently. 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.

Brian's Opinion
···
04/14/2021
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
···
04/14/2021
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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Freethinker's Opinion
···
04/14/2021
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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    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 (59)
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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 (9)
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    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 (44)
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    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 differently. 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.
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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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    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 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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    Absolutely!
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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!
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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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    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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    We get at least 5 calls a day for various scams; my Medicare number/account has been used and the caller said I’ll be under investigation and my Medicare number will be cancelled unless I call them back; there is suspicious charge on my Amazon account of $999 and I need to press #1 to take care of it; our Warranty on my car has expired, press #1. Etc etc, once I answered the phone by accident and we got a call every 6 minutes for ours. Each number on caller ID is different and once caller ID was our own phone number. I reported to the national FCC Do Not Call registry on line, but there was a statement that they can’t possibly take care of the volume and have asked help from the public.... My friends have the same issues....
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    Report all scammers keep seniors safe. And punish those scammers!
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    Yes and they should start by removing the Trump toadies Saul and Black who are raping seniors, disabled, children and dismantling the Social Security depts
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    Yes but why don’t phone companies do their part first. Then if they don’t stop the robo and scan calls the feds can intervene. You pay your monthly outrageous phone bill and what to you get, “Your warranty is about to expire on your automobile”.
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    Needs Bipartisanship support! Great Bill!!!
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    I have scam alert on my phone and they still manage to get through. Now I don’t answer unknown phone calls. I wait for caller to leave a message to assure it’s a legit call before I’ll make contact.
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