May 6, 2024 | Press Releases

Nunn Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Scams Targeting Retirees

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Zach Nunn (IA-03) today introduced bipartisan legislation to fight back against scams targeting retirees. The Empowering States to Protect Seniors Against Bad Actors Act, which is co-led by U.S. Representative Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), will combat fraud on social media that targets retirees. 

“Ensuring Iowan’s life savings are protected isn’t a partisan matter – it’s a matter of right or wrong,” said Rep. Nunn. “We’re fighting back against con artists preying on retirees. No one should have to worry about financial fraud during their golden years.” 

According to the FBI’s 2023 Elder Fraud Report, retirees had more than $3.4 billion stolen through scams. More than 100,000 retirees reported that they were victims of scams, losing a heartbreaking average of $33,915. Tragically, about 6,000 retirees lost more than $100,000. More than 500 retirees in Iowa reported scams to the FBI.  

“I’m sounding the alarm about one of the biggest issues facing older Americans: senior scams and announcing new action against social media companies and others to help crack down on this runaway abuse of Jersey seniors,” said Rep. Gottheimer. “Scams are one of the first topics that I hear about when I come to chat with older constituents at senior centers like this one. Fraudsters are using every trick in the book — social media, email, and phone — to swindle our seniors out of billions of dollars every year.”  

Social media platforms have become major hubs for fraud and financial exploitation. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans lost $2.7 billion in social media scams between 2021 and 2023, four times as much as fraudsters stole in website scams and a billion more than email scams. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that one-fourth of all successful scams originate on social platforms.  

The bipartisan Empowering States to Protect Seniors Against Bad Actors Act would establish a grant program at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to invest in state responses to scams. These grants can be used to hire enforcement officers, invest in cutting-edge technology, develop educational resources to inform the public about scams, and create forward-thinking strategies to combat financial exploitation and fraud targeting retirees. 

Text of the bill can be found here