Sadly, financial fraud perpetrated against America's senior citizens is becoming an all-too common phenomenon. Conservative estimates show that seniors lose at least $2.6 billion-a-year to thieves through various forms of financial schemes.
To help solve this problem, I continue to push for legislation in the House of Representatives that better protects America's senior citizens from a prevalent form of financial fraud, known as an "affinity scam'. A typical affinity scam involves transactions in which a person trusted by a senior uses this relationship to defraud the senior of money. This Congress, I have introduced The Preventing Affinity Scams on Seniors (PASS) Act, legislation requiring financial institutions to offer services to protect seniors from affinity scams, and to report suspected affinity scams to the pertinent law enforcement agencies. The PASS Act will take concrete steps to safeguard the financial wellbeing of the elderly population.
The PASS Act requires financial institutions to:
Offer "senior protection accounts' which allow senior customers to opt-in for services that stop the processing and investigate the legitimacy of those transactions suspected to be part of affinity scams (banks will receive a small tax deduction on all funding kept in these protection accounts);
Notify identified affinity scams transactions to the affected seniors and the appropriate law enforcement agencies; and
Provide training to their staff and educate their customers on affinity scams targeting senior citizens.
The bill also prohibits financial institutions from discriminating against or raising service fees of any kind for seniors because of their use of "senior protection accounts.'
After a lifetime of service to their families, communities, and the nation at large, senior citizens deserve financial peace of mind in their elder years. I am proud to introduce this responsible legislation, which ensures our financial institutions do all they can to protect seniors from scams and keep law enforcement properly informed when fraud is suspected.
JOE BACA, Congressman
43rd Congressional District