House Passes Blunt Rochester’s Fraud & Scam Reduction Act
Washington, April 15, 2021 | Andrew Donnelly (302-893-4406)
WASHINGTON - Today, the United States House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 1215, the Fraud & Scam Reduction Act sponsored by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.). The bill was originally introduced by Blunt Rochester as the Stop Senior Scams Act in May of 2019. It was reintroduced in the 117th Congress in February. The Fraud & Scam Reduction Act would establish a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Advisory Group within the Bureau of Consumer Protection. This public-private partnership will coordinate and share anti-scam resources with seniors and establishes a permanent Senior Fraud Advisory Office to prevent fraud targeting seniors while working with federal, state, and local law enforcement to improve nationwide efforts to recover stolen assets. A similar effort to prevent senior scams is being led in the Senate by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).
“Bad actors preying on older Americans is, unfortunately, nothing new. But in the midst of a global pandemic impacting Americans’ lives and livelihoods, cracking down on those scams must be a priority,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “This bill, as its name suggests, was aimed at cracking down on these scams by bringing public and private stakeholders together to educate financial institutions, retailers, and seniors about potential scams. I want to thank my colleagues, Democratic and Republican, for their work in helping us establish a permanent Senior Fraud Advisory Office and their vote to protect our seniors.”
“Seniors have worked hard to earn every penny of their savings and far too often scammers try to take advantage of them. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many bad actors unfortunately were able to capitalize on panic and confusion to prey on the most vulnerable,” said Rep. Walberg. “With our bill, we are one step closer to cracking down on these fraudulent financial schemes before it’s too late. I thank Rep. Blunt Rochester for her bipartisan work on this legislation, and I hope to finally see it get signed into law to help better protect our nation’s seniors.”
“All Americans should be able to count on safety and dignity in their senior years, but too often, they become the targets of deceptive scams,” said Senator Klobuchar. “New schemes designed to defraud seniors appear almost daily and can be financially and emotionally devastating for retirees living on fixed incomes. Too many seniors have had their identities and life savings stolen as a result of these scams. Passing my bipartisan Seniors Fraud Prevention Act in the House, as part of the Fraud & Scam Reduction Act, is a critical step to combatting fraud that targets seniors.”
“I commend Congresswoman Blunt Rochester for leading the effort in the House to pass the Stop Senior Scams Act,” said Senator Casey. “The Senate now has to do its job and pass this legislation in order to better protect seniors from scammers.”
H.R. 1215 establishes a Senior Scams Prevention Advisory Group, which will create model educational materials for employees of retailers, financial-services, and wire-transfer companies on how to identify and prevent scams that affect seniors. The legislation is supported by AARP, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Best Buy, National Retail Federation, Target, Amazon, and Walmart.
The Fraud & Scam Reduction Act will now go to the United States Senate, where it awaits passage.