Pennsylvania Agencies Fight To Protect Seniors From Financial Fraudsters

Seniors are the primary target of financial fraud. In response, the Pennsylvania departments of Banking and Securities, Aging, and Insurance have spoken up for older citizens and pushed to grant more protections.

The departments have issued a joint letter to leaders in the U.S. Senate and Pennsylvania senators urging passage of legislation focused on protecting senior citizens.

In the letter, Secretary of Banking and Securities Richard Vague, Secretary of Aging Robert Torres, and Acting Insurance Commissioner Michael Humphreys strongly urge members of the Senate to support The Empowering States to Protect Seniors from Bad Actors Act (HR 5914).

“With a growing population of older adults, Pennsylvania has a duty and vested interest in protecting its seniors from scam artists looking to prey on them for financial gain,” Secretary Vague said. “This legislation allows states to access additional tools to help ensure the safety and security of older adults in the commonwealth.”

The bipartisan bill establishes a senior investor protection grant program which would allow state securities and insurance regulators to access grant funding to develop and implement data-driven programs to reduce senior investment fraud.

“Scam artists and bad actors all too often target older Pennsylvanians in fraudulent schemes that could negatively impact their financial stability and independence,” said Acting Commissioner Humphreys. “The Pennsylvania Insurance Department has prioritized consumer protection in the insurance industry, and under Governor Wolf, worked to strengthen annuity requirements to protect seniors from losing their hard-earned money to scams. HR 5914, if fully implemented, will help regulators protect Pennsylvanians against potential fraud.”

In September 2020, the Department of Aging published a Financial Exploitation Study highlighting the impact of scams and thefts on older Pennsylvanians. Of the 1,488 substantiated cases, an estimated $58 million was lost.

“Financial exploitation is a rapidly growing problem in the commonwealth. It causes great harm to older adults, and we know it is significantly underreported. The Department of Aging has worked extensively on finding multi-disciplinary approaches to protecting older adults from and preventing this type of abuse, particularly after releasing a study on financial exploitation of older adults, forming a task force to address this issue, and working to implement the recommendations from this group,” said Secretary Torres. “The passage of HR 5914 would provide another tool for the commonwealth to protect older adults and their hard-earned investments from becoming victims of financial exploitation. I urge the U.S. Senate to quickly pass this legislation.”

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