News Department

Gottheimer announces new action to combat senior scams on social media and more

Urges Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to take stronger action against scammers and fraudsters

FAIR LAWN, NJ (Bergen County) — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Monday visited Fair Lawn Senior Center to announce new action against senior scammers as part of his Senior Security Strategy, specifically targeting fraudsters on social media.

According to the FBI’s 2023 Elder Fraud Report, seniors had more than $3.4 billion stolen from senior scams last year. More than 100,000 seniors reported that they were victims of scams last year, losing a heartbreaking average of $33,915. Tragically, about 6,000 seniors lost more than $100,000. More than 2,000 seniors in Jersey reported scams to the FBI last year.

Social media platforms have become major hubs for fraud and financial exploitation. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans lost $2.7 billion in social media scams between 2021 and 2023, four times as much as fraudsters stole in website scams and a billion more than email scams. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that one-fourth of all successful scams originate on social platforms.

“I’m sounding the alarm about one of the biggest issues facing older Americans: senior scams and announcing new action against social media companies and others to help crack down on this runaway abuse of Jersey seniors,” Gottheimer said. “Scams are one of the first topics that I hear about when I come to chat with older constituents at senior centers like this one. Fraudsters are using every trick in the book — social media, email, and phone — to swindle our seniors out of billions of dollars every year.”

Gottheimer’s New Action to Protect Seniors from Scams Includes:


  1. Sending a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter/X CEO Linda Yaccarino, urging them to take stronger action against senior scammers on their social media platforms. Gottheimer urged Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to:

a. Add warning labels on fraudulent content and accounts that have been flagged as potential senior scammers. Locating these accounts and posts should be done through crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence.

b. Highlight senior scams and fraud as a main option for reporting. Provide information about reporting scams and frauds to law enforcement (e.g. the contact information for the FBI’s Elder Fraud hotline) as part of the reporting flow.

c. Throttle the reach and messaging abilities of accounts that have been flagged for senior scams, fraudulent behavior, impersonation, and other forms of deception.

  1. Introducing the bipartisan, bicameral Empowering States to Protect Seniors Against Bad Actors Act with Representative Zach Nunn (IA-3) and Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

a. The bill will establish a grant program at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC to invest in states’ scams responses.

b. States will be able to then staff up their scam enforcement offices, invest in cutting-edge technology, develop educational resources that inform the public about scams, and create forward-thinking strategies to combat financial exploitation and fraud targeting seniors.

  1. Co-leading a resolution to designate Thursday, May 9th as National Scam Survivor Day with Representative Bryan Steil (WI-1). The resolution recognizes the impact of scams on survivors, including seniors, and urges greater action to stop scams at the source.

The bipartisan Empowering States to Protect Seniors Against Bad Actors Act is co-led by Congressman Zach Nunn (IA-1) and has already received broad support from leading senior advocates and financial planning leaders, including the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), National Council on the Aging, Consumer Federation of America, American Council of Life Insurers, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., Financial Services Institute, Insured Retirement Institute, Investment Company Institute, Public Investors Advocate Bar Association, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, Lincoln Financial Group, Nationwide, and Elder Justice Coalition.

“State securities regulators have been leaders for decades in the effort to protect older adults from fraudsters and bad actors. The Empowering States to Protect Seniors from Bad Actors Act would be a key tool in regulators’ toolkits to stop scam artists from preying on vulnerable seniors. We proudly support this bipartisan legislation as our members continue to educate and protect older investors,” said NASAA President and Deputy Director of the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance Claire McHenry. “NASAA appreciates Representative Gottheimer’s and Senator Van Hollen’s continued efforts to secure passage of this important legislation.”

“Scammers’ methods are always evolving, so we support this bill that helps states stay ahead of financial fraud and protect older adults. They keep losing more and more money to these criminal tactics every year, which has devastating consequences. We also need to work with the banking industry to ensure protections and alerts are in place to safeguard people’s hard-earned money,” said National Council on Aging President and CEO Ramsey Alwin.

“Consumer Federation of America (CFA) strongly supports The Empowering States to Protect Seniors from Bad Actors Act,” said CFA Director of Investor Protection Micah Hauptman. “The grants authorized by this legislation would provide much-needed funding to: investigate and prosecute cases involving senior financial fraud; promote technology, equipment, and training for regulators, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers tasked with shutting down senior scams; and provide educational materials to seniors to increase awareness of scams. We urge Congress to pass this important legislation,” Hauptman continued.

Gottheimer’s newly announced action builds on steps he took last year with his Senior Security Strategy. The House unanimously passed Gottheimer’s legislation, the Senior Security Act, last year to help stop financial predators from scamming seniors out of their savings by creating a federal Senior Investor Task Force within the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to strengthen protections and safeguards for senior investors.

Gottheimer was joined by Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton and Fair Lawn Mayor Gail Rottenstrich.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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