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Klobuchar senior fraud-prevention bill clears Senate committee

At Wednesday's Senate Commerce Committee meeting, legislation backed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., 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 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, according to a news release. "The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence 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 Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, 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.