Financial scammers who target elderly or vulnerable Minnesotans would face stiffer penalties under a law Gov. Mark Dayton included in his two-year budget proposal. The proposed law would tack on an additional $10,000 fine for consumer fraud crimes committed against vulnerable or older adults. That group could expand beyond seniors, but officials haven't yet decided on specifics.
Seniors make up about one-fifth of financial abuse victims nationwide. This is according to Minnesota’s Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, as reported in a recent Minneapolis Star Tribune article titled “Dayton wants new financial protection law for elderly, vulnerable to protect from scams.”They make for tempting targets of scammers: old age often means reduced cognitive abilities, creating easy marks for these schemes.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has proposed a plan that would add a $1 fee to insurers for every life insurance or annuity product they sell, which would help hire outreach employees, a senior ombudsman, and an investigator.
About 13 percent of Minnesotans were 65 or older in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and like many other parts of the country, that senior population is expected to increase greatly in the next ten years.
With the growing population of seniors, the Star Tribune reports that this group constituted more than 50% of the victims in the financial exploitation reports to the state's Adult Protective Services office last year—and that number is growing.
Elderly people can fall victim to scams from strangers, friends or family members, and they don't always report when a crime occurs. They can be afraid and embarrassed. But they shouldn’t be. Contact an experienced elder law attorney for answers and to make sure that you and your love ones are protected from scammers.
Reference: Star Tribune (January 29, 2015) “Dayton wants new financial protection law for