As seniors continue to join the online community, it’s critical we have laws in place to adequately protect them from fraud. Research has shown that the number of financial scams targeting seniors has grown at an alarming rate. A study by Stanford Center on Longevity and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation found seniors are 34% more likely to have lost money in an financial scam than people in their 40’s. What’s more, as internet usage amongst seniors has increased, more and more criminals are using digital means to steal money from the elderly.
As a former computer programmer and software engineer, I’m committed to ensuring Seniors and all Americans are protected from online fraud. That’s why I recently co-sponsored the “Stop Online Booking Scams Act” a bill that aims to crack down on third party websites that pose as legitimate hotel booking websites to scam people out of money. Last year, 15 million Americans, many of them seniors, fell victim to this disturbingly common online scam. What’s more, it has been estimated that this scam cost victims a total of $1.3 billion in fake reservations, fraudulent fees, and costly inconveniences in that same time period.
Beyond bills like the “Stop Online Booking Scams Act,” we must also ensure we’re educating our seniors to ensure they know the warning signs of online theft.If you are over the age of 65 or have a friend or relative who is, please consult the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website for more information on common scams and ways to detect them.
I want to make sure your voice is heard in Congress. That’s why I encourage you to contact my office and share your story and your ideas about the impact of this legislation. Your voice matters, and I will make sure it is heard.+