Older Americans forfeit approximately $37 billion annually to financial fraud. However, new legislation under consideration in Congress would impose more stringent penalties for these crimes in an effort to combat the rising rate of exploitation.
Money Magazine’s recent article, “Congress Is Getting Serious About Preventing Elder Fraud,” reports that Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) recently said they are drafting federal legislation that will introduce tougher penalties for scammers who target senior consumers.
The bill also promotes interagency coordination in elder abuse cases. This will include improvement in investigation and prosecution, as well as enhancing survivor assistance and data collection.
Fraud schemes targeting seniors are expected to increase, given that the number of people over 65 will more than double from 46 million currently to 98 million by 2060. It’s estimated that seniors lose anywhere from $3 billion to $36.5 billion each year to fraud and financial abuse.
While the elderly may not be defrauded at as high of rates as younger consumers, the types of scams perpetrated against them have a more significant effect. The most common of these scams concern lottery winnings and prize promotions, in addition to fraudsters representing that they are technical support specialists who can “fix” non-existent computer problems.
Early detection is the key to fighting these schemes, experts say. Also, providing law enforcement with the tools, especially in preliminary kinds of assistance in identifying these schemes, is a critical component.
Reference: Money (June 2, 2016) “Congress Is Getting Serious About Preventing Elder Fraud”