South Carolina AG supports legislation to help protect against elder fraud

·2 min read

May 26—South Carolina's attorney general has joined a coalition urging congressional support for legislation to help protect senior citizens against elder fraud.

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson has joined a coalition of 47 attorneys general in urging congressional leaders to support the Fraud and Scam Reduction Act.

The act, comprised of the Stop Senior Scam Act and Seniors Fraud Prevention Act of 2021, will assist stakeholders in training employees to recognize the warning signs of elder fraud and to prevent irreversible damage to elderly victims.

"Too often, we hear about senior citizens being scammed after they've become victims and they've lost thousands of dollars and perhaps their life savings," Wilson said in a news release. "This act is so important because it's focused on preventing fraud and scams that target seniors rather than reacting after it happens and it's too late. A scam on anyone is bad enough, but on vulnerable seniors it is reprehensible."

The act, H.R. 1215, is bipartisan legislation that will provide innovative ways to combat the financial exploitation of senior citizens.

The legislation will establish the Senior Scams Prevention Advisory Group that is accountable to the Federal Trade Commission. The group will collect data generated by stakeholders such as retailers, financial services and wire-transfer companies to help educate employees on how to identify and prevent scams that target seniors.

The group will develop training and educational materials for those employees best suited to identify the warning signs of elder fraud, and to help elderly victims before it is too late.

The act also establishes the Office for the Prevention of Fraud Targeting Seniors — housed in the Bureau of Consumer Protection of the FTC. The office will complement the efforts of the Senior Scams Prevention Advisory Group by: monitoring emerging scams that target seniors through the internet, mail, robocalls, telemarketing and television; disseminating information on common fraud schemes; and sharing information on how to report suspected senior fraud scams to a national fraud hotline and the FTC's Consumer Sentinel Network.

The FTC will also work with the U.S. Attorney General's Office to log and track complaints from victims and relay the information to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

Wilson joined the attorneys general from the following states in signing on to the letter: Florida, New York, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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