ATTORNEY GENERAL SORRELL URGES CONGRESS TO TAKE STEPS TO COMBAT ELDER FRAUD
May 16, 2013
Attorney General Bill Sorrell joined Rep. Peter Welch today and urged Congress to take steps to combat elder fraud. Attorney General Sorrell testified before a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce. The hearing was convened to review the federal government’s current efforts to detect financial scams perpetrated on seniors and how to assess the effectiveness of those measures. Attorney General Sorrell warned of the prevalence of elder scams in Vermont and across the country, citing to two reports received by his Office within just the past ten days. One reported that an 83 year old man lost $8,000 to an investment scam and the other, a 79 year old woman who lost $29,000 in wire transfers to a “romance scammer” in Ghana. Attorney General Sorrell told the subcommittee that the Vermont Attorney General’s Office continues its work to find effective solutions to this problem along with AARP, the banking community, federal, state and local law enforcement, and most recently as chair of the Vermont Working Group on Protecting Older Consumers convened in 2012.
“The States and the Federal Government are necessary partners in the noble cause of protecting the most vulnerable among us from fraud, most especially our senior citizens,” Attorney General Sorrell told the Representatives. “Together, we can, and should, work toward the development of evidence-based strategies to change consumer behavior to be more self-protective; to create networks of contacts, materials and protocols for use throughout the country; and to diminish the use of high-risk wire transfers as an easy way for scammers to take grave advantage of the elderly.”