New bill aims to protect seniors from becoming victims of bank fraud

Protecting senior citizens from fraud is the focus of new legislation that just passed the Georgia State Senate.

The bill would allow temporary holds on withdrawals or transfers. So far, 35 other states already have a similar law on the books.

Channel 2 consumer investigator Justin Gray learned that the goal is to encourage banks to stop and double-check that a transaction is legitimate before the money is withdrawn from a senior citizen’s account.

Someone posing as Shirley Crain’s daughter walked into a North Carolina Truist branch and took everything out of the 8-year-old’s checking account -- $6,000.

“Just think somebody went in my account and wiped it out,” Shirley Crain said.

“Just to see my mom going through this. It makes, you know, it just hurts my heart so bad,” daughter Tammy Crain said.

Even though the bank showed the Crains surveillance video of the woman who is clearly not Tammy Crain withdrawing the money, Truist sent a letter refusing to repay the money.

“She has bills that she has to pay and that that’s her hard-working money. And they’re saying that they’re not going to replace it,” Tammy Crain said.


Senate Bill 84 is designed to protect seniors like Crain.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has been pushing for the bill that did pass the Senate before Crossover Day.

“We want to put more guardrails in the system,” Raffensperger said.

The bill would give banks and financial advisors the ability to put a temporary hold on suspicious withdrawals or transfers for senior citizens over 65.

“It really makes sure before you have a financial transaction that you have a time out period so you can actually verify who this person is that’s requesting this transfer money,” Raffensperger said.

The Crains believe that would have prevented the fraud they are now fighting.

“It would have stopped this transaction from going through. And we wouldn’t be sitting here today,” Tammy Crain said.

Gray contacted Truist for comment on this story. A spokesperson said they elevated the Crain’s case and are investigating.

As for this bill, it passed the Senate unanimously and is now waiting for a vote in the House.