July 16, 2014 – The U.S. Senate
Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing today at 1:30 p.m. to
seek solutions to the increase in scams targeting grandparents. Sens.
Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Susan Collins (R-ME), the committee’s chairman
and ranking member, called for the hearing after receiving complaints
from victims through the committee’s fraud hotline.
The two lawmakers said they’re
hoping the hearing will help identify potential solutions to help
authorities better detect and prosecute such crimes, as well as
encourage retailers and phone companies to do their part to protect
Wednesday’s hearing is the latest
in a series of investigations the panel has held to spotlight the
devastating impact fraud has on seniors. Over the last two years, the
committee has examined the rise of Jamaican lottery scams, along with
tax refund schemes and Social Security and Medicare fraud.
An example of the problem is one
most seniors have heard.When 81-year-old Cincinnati resident
Roger W. answered a call in December, he thought it was his grandson on
the other end of the phone.
The “grandson” said he had been
arrested for speeding and drug possession and urgently needed money for
bail. He then turned the call over to a person claiming to be a police
officer. Convinced their grandson needed help, Roger W. and his wife
headed to a local retail store to purchase a money-order card to cover
the cost of bail.
After sending a total of $7,000 to
the supposed police officer, the couple soon discovered they had been
conned out of their hard-earned money after reaching their real grandson
on his cellphone. They are among an untold number of seniors who have
fallen victim to an old imposter scam known as the “grandparent scam”
that experts say is making a comeback across the nation.
Roger W., who has requested
anonymity to avoid becoming a target of other con-artists, is set
testify Wednesday before a hearing of the U.S Senate Special Committee
on Aging. The hearing will examine the recent rise in imposter scams,
particularly the grandparent scam. Additional witnesses include
representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal
Trade Commission (FTC) and the United States Telecom Association.
According to the FTC, Americans
lost more than $73 million to impostor scams last year. While the
agency admits the figure accounts for only a fraction of the problem
because most victims fail to report the crime, instances of imposter
scams have doubled between 2009 and 2013.
COMMITTEE ON AGING
Hanging Up on Phone Scams: Progress and Potential Solutions to this
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Office Building, Room 562
Grandparent Scam Victim
Vice President, Law and Policy, United States Telecom Association
Associate Director, Division of Marketing Practices, Federal Trade
Assistant Director, Criminal Investigative Division, Federal Bureau of
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