In full transparency, the following is a press release from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.
BOSTON — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has joined a bipartisan coalition of 47 attorneys general in urging congressional leaders to support the Fraud and Scam Reduction Act, which will assist stakeholders in training employees to recognize the warning signs of elder fraud and to prevent irreversible damage to elderly victims.
“Our senior citizens are amongst some of our most vulnerable residents being exploited through the mail, with robocalls, and on the internet by fraudsters looking to make a profit,” said Healey. “I’m joining my colleagues from all over the country to advocate for this important legislation so that we can protect seniors from fraud and scams through training and prevention.”
The act, H.R. 1215, is bipartisan legislation – comprised of the Stop Senior Scam Act and Seniors Fraud Prevention Act of 2021 – 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 (FTC) and 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.
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.
To read the letter, click here.
AG Healey 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, 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 Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Earlier this year, the AG’s Office held its first “Savvy Senior Consumer Day”, which was a virtual summit that aimed to help elderly residents and give them tips and resources on how to protect themselves from scam and identity theft, especially during the pandemic.
Seniors in Massachusetts who have concerns about fraud and scams should reach out to the AG’s Elder hotline number at (888) AG-ELDER or (888) 243-5337.