RELEASE: House Passes Gottheimer’s Bipartisan Bill to Help States Protect Seniors from Financial Scams

May 11, 2022
Press

Creates a new Senior Investor Protection Grant Program focused on stopping senior scams

Older Americans lose $3 billion each year to financial scams and abuse

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, May 11, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer’s (NJ-05) bipartisan, bicameral legislation, the Empowering States to Protect Seniors from Bad Actors Act, in a 371 to 48 vote. Gottheimer’s bipartisan bill will help stop financial scammers from targeting vulnerable seniors.

Earlier today, Gottheimer spoke on the House floor to urge Members of the House on both sides of the aisle to support this commonsense legislation. Watch Gottheimer’s remarks on the House floor here.

The legislation will create a new Senior Investor Protection Grant Program to be implemented by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to support state enforcement agencies and task forces charged with protecting and educating seniors on financial fraud. The bill will help invest $10 million annually to hire additional investigative staff, invest in technology, equipment, and training for law enforcement, and educate seniors on financial scams. 

“Millions of seniors across the country, including my own mother, have been the victims of financial scams, and far too many have been cheated out of their retirement savings. Our seniors should be spending time with their kids, grandkids, and friends — not staying up late at night worrying about whether someone is preying on their retirement nest egg,” said Congressman Josh Gottheiemer (NJ-5), a member of the House Financial Services Committee. “Seniors need a cop on the beat, and my bipartisan bill which the House passed today will take concrete action to ensure protections are in place.”

Gottheimer continued, “​​Our seniors have given so much to this great country. We should always have their backs and help protect them from predators who want to take advantage of them.”

Companion bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tim Scott (R-SC), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).

Senior scams cost older Americans nearly $3 billion a year and cause harm and anxiety for our older Americans. Last year, about seven million Americans reported being a victim of financial exploitation, and since 2013, more than 16,000 taxpayers have lost more than $83 million total from scammers impersonating IRS officials. Unfortunately, only 1 in 24 cases of elder exploitation actually gets reported.

The Empowering States to Protect Seniors from Bad Actors Act is a key part of Gottheimer’s new Senior Security Strategy — which he announced earlier this week — to help protect older Americans in New Jersey and nationwide from getting scammed out of their hard-earned savings.   

Find the bill text of H.R.5914, the Empowering States to Protect Seniors from Bad Actors Act, here.

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