Scam-free seniors

February 19, 2019

Most senior citizens are old and wise.

But not many of them are financially literate and investment-savvy.

Retirees are often the target of financial scams and related economic crimes because of their pensions.

When these pension funds are not locked away in safe and secure investments, scammers target them for their nefarious purposes.

That’s why there is a need for financial education and literacy for seniors/retirees to teach them how to safely and securely invest their hard-earned pensions.

And it is reassuring to note that a lady lawmaker is pushing for a consultative group to help them navigate the often perilous financial path to retirement security.

Senator Nancy Binay has filed a bill seeking to shield senior citizens from fraudulent schemes of scammers.

"It is our duty to protect and free senior citizens from abuse and exploitation of any kind," Binay said in filing Senate bill No. 2158 entitled "Seniors Fraud Prevention Act."

In her explanatory note, the senator said it is the duty of the State to care for the elderly through just programs of social security.

In seeking to protect and promote the welfare of senior citizens, Binay said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) should be directed to establish an advisory office within the Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection to assist and support the department in the prevention of fraud and scams targeting seniors' finances.

The advisory office would help the DTI alert consumers about new scams targeting senior citizens and requiring the establishment of an effective complaints system to ensure that reports of fraud are given immediate action.

The advisory office shall monitor the market for mail, television, internet and telemarketing fraud including recorded message telephone calls or "robocalls" targeting seniors.

It will also be tasked to disseminate to the senior citizens, their families and caregivers the information, including descriptions of the most common fraud schemes, complaints regarding such scams either through telephone or website.

Reported complaints will be made immediately available by the advisory office to the appropriate law enforcement agencies, including the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).