Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Bill Protects Seniors from Scams

Jun 4, 2015
Press Release
Bipartisan Group Introduces “Seniors Fraud Prevention Act”

Sens. Collins and Klobuchar Offer Companion Bill in Senate

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, today partnered with two Democratic House colleagues, Reps. Ted Deutch and Peter Welch , to introduce the “Seniors Fraud Prevention Act” -- legislation to crack down on scams and fraud targeting older Americans.  Florida is a hotbed for these types of crimes, topping all states in the percentage of seniors 60 and over.

"Seniors spend their entire lives working hard and saving so that they can retire with peace of mind," said Buchanan. "Unfortunately, an increasing number of criminals are targeting Americans over 65, the fastest growing population in our country.  With nearly 200,000 seniors living in our area of Southwest Florida, these schemes threaten more than retirement accounts – they threaten the independence and trust of an already vulnerable community.  The bipartisan Seniors Fraud Prevention Act is a critical step to combating fraud, protecting seniors and bringing those responsible for these crimes to justice."

Specifically, this legislation is designed to combat financial schemes that target our nation’s seniors, such as sweepstakes and charity scams, as well as fraudulent investment plans and Internet fraud.  The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act would also establish an advisory office within the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Affairs tasked with alerting consumers of new scams and establishing an effective complaint system to ensure that reports of fraud are quickly forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

“South Florida has long known that seniors make lucrative targets for financial scam artists peddling everything from fraudulent investment offers to bogus home repairs,” said Rep.Ted Deutch. “In the coming years, protecting the hard-earned assets of America’s retirees is going to demand a proactive approach from the federal government. With bipartisan support for the Seniors Fraud Prevention Act in the House and Senate, I am hopeful that together we can step up the fight against financial fraud and better safeguard seniors from exploitation and abuse.”

"I am pleased to be working with Congressmen Deutch and Welch on this important bipartisan measure to protect our seniors from fraud," Buchanan added. "We must do everything we can to safeguard the savings and dignity of Americans as they enter their golden years against those who would try to exploit them."

According to recent estimates from the Investor Protection Trust, a nonprofit education organization, one in five Americans over 65 have been a victim of financial fraud.  A study by the Metlife Mature Market Institute estimates the financial loss to senior victims to total nearly $3 billion annually. 

Senators Susan Collins (R- ME) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have offered companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.