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President Trump Signs Bill to Protect Elders From Telemarketing Fraud

October 20, 2017
By Mandi Nowitz - Web Editor

Senior citizens have become a prime target of fraudulent activity. This demographic loses roughly three billion dollars per year, mostly from telemarketing scams. Falling victim to fake IRS scams, where callers threaten arrests, elders will do whatever is necessary for safety. This includes meeting scammers in undisclosed locations or wiring money, hence the billions lost.

This was becoming a massive problem in Santa Barbara, California, bringing former prosecutor, Vicki Johnson, out of retirement, to help address the issue. “These crooks have been getting more and more aggressive with the phone calls,” said Johnson.

Thankfully, President Donald Trump is jumping into action by signing the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act, S.178. The bill establishes certain requirements for the Department of Justice, with respect to investigating and prosecuting elder abuse crimes, and amends Federal criminal law to expand telemarketing fraud to include “email marketing” fraud.”

The Act aims to crack down on elder abuse and fraud, especially in cases of telemarketing and email for financial gain. Healthcare fraud has also been added to the list of fraudulent offenses subject to penalty.

“A defendant convicted of telemarketing or email marketing fraud that targets or victimizes a person over age 55 is subject to an enhanced criminal penalty and mandatory forfeiture,” the bill states.

The definition of telemarketing and email fraud has been expanded to include the participation in a business opportunity or loan commitment. This should be incentive to stop the fraudulent telemarketers from targeting elders, with the knowledge that there is a penalty. But, will it be a means to an end? Only time will tell if the fraudulent telemarketers will stay at bay, but history suggests they’ll find alternative underhanded schemes.

Edited by Erik Linask