“Stop Con Artists Preying on the Fears of Older Americans,” Says Congresswoman Robin Kelly upon Introducing the Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Robin Kelly has introduced the bipartisan Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act, legislation that directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report to Congress the number and types of scams targeting seniors during the coronavirus pandemic. The legislation also requires the FTC to make recommendations on how to prevent scams targeting seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic and future emergencies.
"Our senior citizens have borne the brunt of this pandemic. Now, scammers and rip-off artists are targeting older Americans and preying on their fears related to COVID-19," Congresswoman Robin Kelly said. "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."
Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS01) is the original co-sponsor. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) have introduced the Senate companion bill (S. 3824).
"It is despicable that people would exploit the fear and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic to take advantage of vulnerable Americans," said U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. "Ensuring that all Americans have access to timely information about current scams as well as where to turn for help is important as we work to crack down on these predatory crimes. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to protect our senior citizens from fraud."
In addition to the reporting requirements, the bill also directs the FTC to update its web portal with information on scams targeting older Americans. The updated portal would allow consumers to search scams by region and access contact information for relevant law enforcement and adult protective service agencies.
Finally, it directs the FTC to work with media outlets and law enforcement agencies to distribute this information to seniors and their caregivers. The FTC has a long history of partnering with trusted groups including AARP, the Better Business Bureau, State Attorneys General's offices, the Department of Justice, Congressional offices, and the National Association of Consumer Advocates.
The bill is endorsed by the AARP, Elder Justice Coalition, American Society on Aging and National Adult Protective Services Association.