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From Antitrust Law Daily, July 26, 2013

Bill to create FTC senior fraud office introduced in Senate,(Jul. 26, 2013)

By Tobias J. Gillett, J.D., LL.M.

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced legislation in the Senate on July 24, known as the “Seniors Fraud Protection Act,” that would establish an advisory office within the Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Federal Trade Commission that would focus on fraud targeting seniors. Senate Bill No. 1358 would also strengthen the complaint system to facilitate prompt law enforcement responses to fraud complaints. In addition, it would require the FTC to collaborate with other agencies in monitoring the market for fraud, and to disseminate information to seniors and their families and caregivers regarding common fraud schemes and means of reporting instances of fraud to law enforcement.

“Too often seniors can have their entire life savings snatched up in scams specifically designed to target their assets,” said Sen. Klobuchar in a press release. “This bill will give seniors and their families the tools they need to avoid scams before they happen, and will also help make sure that when a complaint is filed, it gets into the right hands so it can be addressed swiftly and effectively.”

“Our bill would help protect seniors from fraud by establishing an advisory office within the Bureau of Consumer Protection,” Sen. Collins added. “This office would be responsible for increasing oversight, consumer education, and establishing a complaint tracking system focused on scams that target our seniors. We should do all that we can to coordinate efforts to educate consumers and share information amongst law enforcement stakeholders about these scams targeting our seniors so that we can stop these criminals.”

The bill has been read and referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. It follows companion legislation, House Bill 1953, introduced in the House of Representative on May 13 by Representatives Ted Deutch (R-Fla.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.). That bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade.

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