US Committee on Aging: Fraud Hotline Report

From our colleagues at the California Regional Coalitions: 

United States Senate

Special Committee on Aging

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Chairman

Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-ME), Ranking Member

 

Note—Today, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging released a bi-partisan report detailing the most common types of fraud reported to the committee over the last year through its Fraud Hotline. To access the report, click here.


BACKGROUND:

Since seniors are often prime targets for fraudsters, the U.S. Special Committee on Aging Chairman Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME) have made protecting older Americans from fraudulent and deceptive practices a top priority during the 113th Congress. 

As a result, the committee conducted investigations and held hearings on numerous scams aimed at seniors.  Two issues that repeatedly arose were the frequency with which victims do not report fraud and the difficulty many encounter when trying to determine where to report scams.  In fact an AARP study of senior fraud victims found that 75 percent of victims age 55 and over did not report incidents of fraud.  To make it easier for senior citizens to report suspected fraud and receive assistance the committee launched a Fraud Hotline in November 2013.

According to the newly released report, committee staff have responded to more than 1,900 reports of fraud impacting seniors since the hotline’s inception.  Types of fraud most commonly reported to the committee include:

  • Computer scams
  • Grandparent scams
  • Health-related scams, especially medical alert device scams
  • Identity theft, including reports of tax-related identity theft
  • Lottery scams, including reports of the Jamaican lottery scam
  • Social Security fraud

In addition to these categories, the hotline has received more than 800 miscellaneous consumer complaints, which include many reports of deceptive business practices. The hotline has also received a number of reports regarding guardianship issues, which typically involve financial abuse of a senior.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of fraud, please contact us at 1-855-303-9470 or visit the committee’s Fraud Hotline website at http://www.aging.senate.gov/fraud-hotline.

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