We have all been on the receiving end of these phone calls. Your child or grandchild is in trouble, send money. You didn’t show up for jury duty, and will be arrested if you don’t send a check now. The IRS is suing you etc…The scams vary but the intent is the same. These criminals prey on the vulnerabilities of our elderly. They often scare them into sending money, or giving out personal financial information by playing on their fears or emotions. According to recent studies, over half of scam victims are over the age of 50. This type of fraud and abuse costs our seniors $2.9 billion dollars every year. This bill is a step at targeting the perpetrators of these crimes.
The initiative would increase the penalty for identity theft against senior or vulnerable adult to a class B felony. It also has civil ramifications, increasing those penalties by three times the amount of the actual damages. Finally, it prohibits disclosing sensitive personal information of vulnerable individuals, and their in-home caregivers. There are specific circumstances when the government could release the information, but by safeguarding this information, it will be harder for these con artist to find their targets.
It is a fact that our elderly population is growing. The baby boomers are aging. They are living longer, but that doesn’t mean they are always healthy. We must be vigilant and proactive in protecting these wonderful people.