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Older Americans are losing estimated at $ 2.9 billion a year to financial fraud.
The House of Representatives is moving forward with an initiative to help stop these losses.
On Wednesday, the House passed the State Empowerment Act to protect the elderly from bad actors 371 against 48 votes.
The bipartisan measure will allow the Securities and Exchange Commission to help government law enforcement agencies and task forces protect and educate older people through the creation of a new grant program to protect senior investors.
The bill provides $ 10 million each year so regulators can hire additional investigators and improve technology, training and equipment. In addition, the money will also be used to educate seniors about financial scams.
Bipartisan companion legislation was proposed in the Senate in January, Senator Chris Van Hollen, MD; Tim Scott, RS.C .; Rafael Warnack, D-Ga .; and Cynthia Lamis, R-Wyo.
MP Josh Gotheimer, DN.J., who sponsored the House bill, said Wednesday that he had personal experience of these scams when his own mother became the target of an alleged IRS agent.
“Fortunately, we found out and stopped this ‘tax inspector agent,'” Gotheimer said of the fraudulent actor. – But how much did others pay?
While records show that about 7 million Americans fell victim to financial exploitation last year, according to other estimates, according to Gotheimer, only 1 in 24 cases of exploitation of the elderly are reported.
The reason more seniors are not advocating is largely due to fear, said Lorraine Joevona, executive director of the Bergen County Senior Services Division, during an event in New Jersey hosted by Gotheimer earlier this week.
“Their biggest fear is that when they report it, they feel like their family will think they can no longer be independent and live alone,” Jovona said.
She said many seniors are cheating on their savings or pension funds.
“We always tell the elderly, please don’t give anyone your information,” Jovona said. “No one from the IRS is going to call you and ask you to send money.
– Only fraudsters do that.
Fraudsters are also common impersonate the Social Security Office. This agency worked to raise public awareness of these schemes.
Gotheimer also sponsored the Senior Guard Act, which was passed by the House last year. The bill provides for the establishment of a task force within the SEC, which will submit reports to Congress every two years on financial schemes targeted at the elderly, such as car calls and voice forgeries.