The Federal Trade Commission highlighted to Congress its multi-faceted approach to protecting older Americans from fraud in testimony today before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Testifying on behalf of the Commission, Lois Greisman, Associate Director of the FTC’s Division of Marketing Practices, described the FTC’s law enforcement efforts that have halted scams that included older Americans among their targets, such as imposter scams, computer technical support and health care-related frauds, as well as sweepstakes and prize scams.
The testimony noted that in 2015, consumers age 60 and over primarily complained about government imposter scams, which was one of the FTC’s top complaint categories in 2015. According to the testimony, all consumers are potential fraud targets, and except in connection with prize promotion and lottery schemes, seniors are not more affected by fraud than younger consumers. A lot of the scams affecting both seniors and younger Americans involve criminal conduct and are based overseas, so the FTC has worked closely with criminal law enforcement agencies and international authorities. The testimony described how the FTC worked with the U.S. Department of Justice on recent cases involving alleged sweepstakes scammers based in Jamaica and the Netherlands, and has provided training for law enforcers in India where many frauds originate.
In addition, the testimony described the agency’s education and outreach programs that reach tens of millions of people each year through its website, news media, and partner organizations that provide consumer information on the FTC’s behalf. The testimony also explained that the FTC has developed an outreach program specifically for active older adults, called Pass It On where consumers can find videos, articles and blogs about scams and how to avoid becoming a victim.
The Commission vote approving the testimony and its inclusion in the formal record was 3-0.
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