WASHINGTON – At yesterday’s Senate Commerce Committee meeting, legislation backed by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN) cleared the committee and will now go to the full Senate for final passage. The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act would help fight scams targeting seniors by directing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create an office to educate seniors about fraud schemes and improve the agency’s monitoring and response to fraud complaints. The TRACED Act would protect consumers from illegal robocalls by giving regulators more time to find scammers, increasing civil forfeiture penalties, and promoting call authentication and blocking adoption.
“Last month the FTC reported that older adults were about five times more likely to report losing money on tech support scams. The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act creates an office at the FTC that would help fight scams designed to strip seniors of their assets,” Klobuchar said at the Commerce Committee.
“The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, legislation that I’ve cosponsored, gives regulators more time to find scammers, increases civil forfeiture penalties, promotes call authentication and blocking adoption.”
The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act would help protect seniors from fraud schemes by creating an office that would help fight scams designed to strip seniors of their assets by educating seniors about fraud schemes and improving monitoring and response to fraud complaints. The bill would require the FTC, the agency responsible for handling consumer complaints, to coordinate with other agencies to monitor the market for fraud schemes targeting seniors. In addition, the bill would require the FTC to distribute information to seniors, their families, and their caregivers that explain how to recognize fraud schemes and how to contact law enforcement authorities in the event that a senior is targeted. Klobuchar and Collins have introduced this bill in the three previous Congresses. In 2016, the legislation passed the Senate Commerce Committee without opposition and in 2017, the legislation passed the Senate with unanimous consent.
As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to protect consumers from robocalls, ticket bots, unauthorized charges on their phone bills, and deceptive practices by fraudulent online travel booking websites. In April 2018, Klobuchar joined members of the Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet Subcommittee to introduce the Robocall Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2018. The legislation, led by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), would help the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) remove barriers that prevent the agency from pursuing those who violate robocall rules. In 2015, Klobuchar called on the FCC to implement “Do Not Disturb” technology to block telemarketing and unwanted robocalls on both landline and wireless phones.
In January, Klobuchar joined 19 senators to introduce the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, led by Senators Thune and Markey. The TRACED Act gives regulators more time to find scammers, increases civil forfeiture penalties, promotes call authentication and blocking adoption, and brings relevant federal agencies and state attorneys general together to address criminal prosecution of robocallers who intentionally violate the law.