BREAKING: Anti-Fraud Bill Led by Buchanan/Deutch Passes U.S. House
WASHINGTON – The U.S. House today passed legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan and Ted Deutch cracking down on fraud targeting older Americans. Florida has the highest percentage of seniors 60 and older in the United States and is a hotbed for these kind of crimes.
“Seniors have worked their entire lives with the promise of a safe and secure retirement," Buchanan said. "Scams targeting the elderly are growing at a disturbing rate and threaten more than retirement accounts – they imperil the independence and trust of an already vulnerable community.”
Buchanan’s bill, the Seniors Fraud Protection Act, targets common scams against seniors, such as sweepstakes and charity schemes, as well as fraudulent investment plans and internet fraud. The bill also creates an advisory office within the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Affairs charged with alerting consumers of new scams.
The AARP, which endorsed the bill, has warned that scams targeting seniors have increased during the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill, included as a part of the Fraud and Scam Reduction Act, now awaits action in the U.S. Senate.
“Passing this bill into law is a big step forward to protecting seniors and combating fraud,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan was presented with the “Guardian of Seniors’ Rights” award in 2018 by one of the nation’s leading non-partisan organizations dedicated to protecting senior citizens. In 2017, Buchanan chaired a hearing on combatting Medicare fraud following a crackdown where more than 400 individuals were charged with falsely billing $1.3 billion to the Medicare program as well as some private insurers.
Buchanan and Deutch have introduced the Seniors Fraud Prevention Act for the past three Congresses. Senators Susan Collins (R- ME) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have offered companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.