Casey Holds Hearing on Latest Trend of Scam Artists Impersonating Law Enforcement to Trick Unsuspecting Seniors
Today, during a U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing entitled, “Combatting Robocall Fraud: Using Telecom Advances and Law Enforcement to Stop Scammers and Protect Seniors,” Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), highlighted the need for the Senate to pass his bipartisan bill, the Stop Senior Scams Act. In an age where telecommunications technology, such as robocalls and spoofing, is utilized to trick seniors into giving money to scammers, this bill would enlist bank tellers and cashiers in the effort to spot and stop scams before seniors lose money. The financial impact of scams, including robocalls, and financial abuses targeting seniors is estimated at least $3 billion a year.
“Robocalls calls are more than a nuisance, they turn a conversation into a heist by threatening our aging loved ones and stealing their hard-earned savings,” said Senator Casey, Ranking Member of the Special Committee on Aging. “Con artists are feeling more emboldened than ever, spoofing law enforcement phone numbers and threatening seniors and others with arrest in order to scare them into immediately handing over funds. We must make it harder for thieves to use robocall and spoofing technology in the first place, but also get everyone in the community involved in knowing how to spot a scam and stop money from ever exchanging hands.”
Sen. Casey has also fought to prevent scam artists from using robocall technology to contact consumers. In 2017, after Sen. Casey’s urging, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gave telephone companies the authority to block certain robocalls coming from numbers that were likely to be scams. Sen. Casey also encouraged the FCC to finalize rules, which they ultimately did in June, to allow phone companies to automatically provide consumers with call-blocking services. According to the FCC, Americans received approximately 47.8 billion robocalls in 2018.
Delaware County Sheriff Jerry L. Sanders, Jr. testified about the recent trends of phone scammers impersonating law enforcement, including his office. Sheriff Sanders spoke on the steps his department takes to prevent seniors and others from falling victim to robocall scams. “Often, trying to keep the public aware to avoid victimization is the best we can do.” Sheriff Sanders continued, “I was pleased to learn that Senator Casey has introduced legislation that would help train bank tellers, cashiers and others about how spot a potential scam victim and intervene to stop it. In this way, they would serve as another line of defense—protecting our friends and neighbors from these criminals.”