May 09, 2024

During Older Americans Month, Gallego Takes Action to Protect Seniors’ Financial Security

Gallego outlines steps to end senior financial exploitation and support states against senior scammers

PHOENIX – During Older Americans Month and on National Scam Survivor Day, Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-03) announced steps to protect Arizonans from financial scams.

According to the?FBI’s 2023 Elder Fraud Report, more than 100,000 retirees reported being victims of scams, resulting in over $3.4 billion stolen. The situation was particularly stark in Arizona, which ranked fourth in number of reports at 5,003 and sixth in losses at nearly $128 million.

Increasingly, social media is being used to target seniors. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), since 2021, social media scams have resulted in $2.7 billion in reported losses, more than any other contact method.

“Arizona’s seniors worked hard all their lives to earn their social security and retirement. They don’t deserve to have that taken away by social media con artists,” said Rep. Gallego. “Today, I’m fighting back to hold scammers - and the social media companies they rely on - accountable for targeting seniors.”

"Scammers are increasingly exploiting senior citizens in Arizona and across the country. Social media has become a major tool for scammers, as they can easily access personal information for scams or quickly connect with individuals to defraud them," said Attorney General Kris Mayes. "That's why combating elder abuse and fraud is a top priority of my administration. I appreciate Congressman Gallego's leadership on this issue because preventing fraud and scams is a collective responsibility, including for social media companies."

To protect Arizona seniors’ financial security and crack down on scammers, today Rep. Gallego:

  • Signed on as an original backer of the bipartisan Empowering States to Protect Seniors Against Bad Actors Act, which would establish a grant program at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to invest in state responses to scams.
  • Sent a letter to the CEOs of Meta and X, calling on them to do more to prevent fraud and scams on their platforms.
  • Joined a resolution designating May 9th as National Scam Survivor Day and supporting the role of Federal and local law enforcement entities in addressing scams.

Today’s actions build on Rep. Gallego’s previous work to protect Arizona’s seniors from scams. He voted to pass the Financial Exploitation Prevention Act of 2023 earlier this year to give the financial industry better tools to address suspected financial exploitation and abuse of seniors and those with mental and physical disabilities.

He has also urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to crack down on fraudulent robocalls and texts and called on the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to crack down on gift card fraud.