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New senior citizen scam prevention advisory group to meet next week

The Scams Against Older Adults Advisory Group, under the direction of the Federal Trade Commission, is scheduled to hold its first meeting on September 29 at 2:30 p.m. pm, and will be broadcast live on the FTC’s website.

The Stop Senior Scams Act, passed in March, created the group, which includes representatives from various advocacy groups such as AARP and AmeriCorps, and government institutions such as the Departments of Justice and Treasury.

The group is responsible for expand consumer education, improve industry training, identify new technologies to prevent scams, and expand fraud prevention research for financial advisors.

A hearing of the Senate Committee on Aging held on Thursday announced the group’s upcoming schedule and also highlighted the unique vulnerability of older adults to financial crime.

Professor Marti of the University of Minnesota testified at the hearing that the increased vulnerability of older people to fraud is largely due to the fact that older people are more socially isolated than younger people and that they have therefore fewer people who can alert them to a scam, and often have less technical skills and suffer from cognitive decline as they age.

The SEC recommends that financial companies train their employees on signs of cognitive decline in elderly clients.

DeLiema also noted that older people tend to lose more money when scammed than younger people and are particularly vulnerable to romance scams or scams in which someone poses as a romantic partner. to establish trust and acquire financial information. Gift cards and reloadable cards are the most common method of fraudulently acquiring money from seniors, accounting for 27% of senior fraud. However, seniors are less likely to report when they are victims of financial fraud.

DeLiema also testified that the emotional and psychological harm associated with financial fraud due to stress, shame, and ruined marriages is comparable to the trauma experienced by survivors of physical and sexual assault.

Although romance scams lead to losses for seniors, business-related scams have grown the fastest during the pandemic. A business scam typically involves a fraudster impersonating a bank employee to obtain sensitive financial information.

A victim of such a scam, Aurelia Costigan, testified at the hearing. She said she was called by a scammer who told her there were suspicious charges on her account and that she should create a Zelle account to back up her bank account. The fraudster requested his social security number as part of the application process, then proceeded to process the fraudulent charges using the number provided by Costigan.

The Senate Committee on Aging has also launched a hotline that can be used to report financial fraud targeting seniors.