U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), seen here speaking to voters, is pushing for stronger laws related to phone scams.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY) held a roundtable discussion on Sunday, August 27th, to discuss phone scams and the newly proposed legislation to help combat the issue.

According to The Daily Gazette, Gillibrand and Tonko, two legislators representing New York in Washington D.C., sat down with a few dozen senior citizens in Saratoga Springs, NY to discuss financial scams targeting certain people. Gillibrand used the opportunity to promote her new legislative piece that would standardize a government response to financial related scams.

The legislative piece, known as the Senior Financial Empowerment Act, would create a nationwide hotline that would assist seniors in reporting fraud in the correct manner and in the correct place. Also, the bill would call for more resources to help in fighting financial exploitation, such as using grant funding to create educational workshops that would teach seniors how to avoid financial scams.

The Senior Financial Empowerment Act was introduced to the U.S. Senate back in March.

According to Gillibrand, tens of thousands of New York residents fall victim to financial phone scams each year. The senator said that in the area surrounding Albany, seniors lose roughly $4.7 million to such scams.

The purpose of the roundtable discussion was to both increase awareness regarding financial phone scams and to keep the people informed about Gillibrand’s legislation.

Many of the senior citizens in attendance offered personal stories about getting ripped off from a phone scam. One woman received two phone calls only weeks after her husband died. One call asked her for her social security information, while the other claimed they were from the IRS.

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In another instance, a 71-year-old man received a fraudulent phone call where the person on the other end said he could offer a great deal on the man’s student loans, even though he was 71.

Amongst the advice offered by Gillibrand included never revealing sensitive personal information over the phone, verifying through a bank or relative that a call is legitimate, knowing that the IRS will always write if there is a problem, and being ready to report scam calls.

It seems that student loans and phone call scams go hand-in-hand with one another. On August 11th, The Student Loan Report covered the story about a North Carolina man’s cell phone number being hacked and used a for a student loan scam. In that instance, people were receiving calls from that man’s number and were being told that their student loans could be entirely paid off with one lump sum.

Not long after that story, an Arizona man was sentenced to 15.75 years in prison for running an online dating scam. The man would defraud woman on dating sites by telling them that he was a licensed stockbroker that could make them money. One example included a woman being promised by the criminal that he could help her invest her money so that she could pay off her student loans. The felon would receive the money and then spend it on casinos, nightclubs, and cars.

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