MIDLAND PARK BOROUGH, NJ (Bergen County) — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Friday announced new steps as part of his Senior Security Strategy — to help end financial scams targeting our seniors.
Bergen County has the largest population of people aged 60 and over in the state — with more than 200,000, accounting for more than 20% of the county’s population.
Senior scams, which can include harassing robocalls and phone calls impersonating the government, cost older Americans more than $36 billion a year according to the National Council on Aging. According to the AARP, senior scams have more than doubled since 2020.
Americans have also lost more than $23 million dollars by giving out information and money to criminals impersonating the IRS.
Gottheimer’s Senior Security Strategy takes key steps to help protect older Americans in New Jersey and nationwide from getting scammed out of their hard-earned money.
New steps Gottheimer announced today for his Senior Security Strategy:
- This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed critical bipartisan legislation — co-led by Gottheimer — the Financial Exploitation Prevention Act: The bipartisan Financial Exploitation Prevention Act passed the House by a sweeping vote of 419 to 0. This bipartisan bill will require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to report to Congress with recommendations on how to combat financial exploitation of seniors and vulnerable adults. It will also create better protections by allowing investment companies, including mutual funds, to delay the selling of a security, like a stock, if they believe it was fraudulently requested to exploit a senior.
- Gottheimer will be introducing his bipartisan legislation, the Empowering States to Protect Seniors from Bad Actors Act, which will do more to educate and better protect seniors from these financial scams: The bipartisan legislation will create a new Senior Investor Protection Grant Program to support state enforcement agencies and task forces to protect and educate seniors on financial fraud. They will be able to hire additional investigative staff, invest in equipment and training for law enforcement, and educate seniors on financial scams. This bipartisan bill passed overwhelmingly out of the House last year.
- Gottheimer will be introducing his bipartisan legislation, the Senior Security Act:. This bill passed the House last year and will create a Senior Investor Taskforce at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that will examine how seniors are being targeted by fraudsters who seek to take financial advantage of them. Every two years, the Taskforce will be required to submit a report to Congress outlining trends and innovations — like robocalls and voice spoofing — that are impacting senior investors, helping us stay ahead of changes in financial scams as they arise.
- In 2019, Gottheimer helped pass the bipartisan Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, known as the TRACED Act, which requires phone companies to verify that the caller ID matches the caller’s real phone number. It also requires companies to offer call-authentication technology, as well as opt-in or opt-out robocall blocking to consumers at no additional charge. This new effort has resulted in countless fines for providers hosting robocalls, helped put an end to international robocallers reaching Americans’ phones, and is helping improve blocking tools to protect families from dangerous robocalls and robotexts.
“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. Can you imagine what type of person would try to steal from a senior? I don’t know how they sleep at night. It’s despicable,” said Gottheiemer, a member of the House Financial Services Committee. “It is absolutely heartbreaking to hear — day in and day out — how fraudsters and hucksters have gone after our seniors’ hard-earned savings. No senior, especially here in New Jersey, should ever have to worry that picking up the phone could mean being scammed out of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, for too many members of our communities, that’s exactly what is happening. Seniors need a cop on the beat and we’re here today to do something about it.”