1 1  | | << >>
Senior Security: Your Guide To The Fraud Prevention Act
02/18/2017 Seniors Andrew S
keywords: Fraud Prevention

Acts of fraud against seniors are some of the most common scams, and also some of the most despicable. Fraud frequently causes senior citizens to lose their savings, homes, and other assets, transforming serene retirements into financial disasters. A recently proposed Senate bill seeks to bolster senior fraud prevention efforts, though it has only a slim chance of passing.

Bill Basics

The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act of 2017, or S. 81, was introduced to the Senate on 10 January 2017 by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The bill seeks to protect senior citizens from fraud, especially that which involves telemarketing, mail, television, recorded telephone messages, or the Internet. To that end, it would:

  • Open A New Office- The Federal Trade Commission must create a new advisory office under the Bureau of Consumer Protection. The office would research fraud against seniors, offering the Commission insight into preventing this.
  • Disseminate Data- In addition to advising the Federal Trade Commission, the office would also provide information directly to seniors on fraud prevention. This would involve creating a website for public viewing as well as sending educational materials to any individual who requests them. This information would include descriptions of common scams, instructions on how to avoid falling for them, and contact information to report them.
  • Consider Complaints- When citizens report fraud, the new office must register their complaints, alert all relevant local, state, and Federal authorities, and provide the victims with information.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, S. 81 will have no significant effect on public spending. A companion bill, HR 444, was proposed in the House of Representatives by Rep. Theodore E. Deutch (D-FL).

Political Prognosis

Despite the fact that it will not raise government outlays, S. 81 has little chance of becoming law. PredictGov gives it only a 6% chance of passing; HR 444’s political prospects are even grimmer, with only a 1% chance of becoming law. The poor prognosis for these bills may be due to a general climate of deregulation in Washington. President Trump promised to reduce regulations during his campaign, as did key Senate and House leaders. A bill that attempts to strengthen regulations against commercial fraud is thus unlikely to gain much support in Congress, and could face a presidential veto even if it did pass. It also likely does not help that Senator Klobuchar and Rep. Deutch are both Democrats operating in a Congress under Republican control. Thus for the foreseeable future, the Senior Fraud Prevention Act is unlikely to become law.

Back to List