Scam Victims Need Help AARP

Scam Victims Need Help

Scam Victims Need Help

Scam activity in the United States is at an all-time high, and the need for a broad-based, meaningful response has never been more urgent. The Federal Trade Commission reported a sharp rise in financial losses due to fraud. This poses a major problem, particularly for older Minnesotans who are at a time in their lives when they are less able to recover financially. 
It’s time for Minnesota lawmakers to step up and protect victims of fraud and scams. 

AARP is calling on state lawmakers to fight fraud, including:

• Prohibiting predatory real estate scams, known as unfair real estate agreements, where some brokerage firms offer small cash gifts to vulnerable homeowners in exchange for exclusive property sales rights for up to 40 years. Homeowners who fall for such agreements may face huge penalties of up to 3% of their property value if they want the agreements removed.  
• Creating a state-level Restitution Fund for victims of scams and fraud that could help scam and fraud victims recover financially and incentivize more people to report financial crimes. 

While education about frauds and scams empowers people to protect themselves, more is needed to eliminate this large-scale problem. 

The message should be clear to our leaders: It’s time to invest in combating fraud. Lawmakers should be doing much more to protect innocent Minnesotans.

Tell your lawmakers to fight fraud and help victims recoup some of their losses.

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Your Message
Protect Minnesotans from Scams
Dear Decision Maker,

I am writing to urge you to fight fraud this year and support two bills to stop scam artists. The first is a bill to create a restitution fund to help victims of fraud recover financially and the second is to prohibit predatory real estate scams. A fast-growing fraud industry is stealing billions of dollars from US consumers every year. The impact is profound, particularly when victims are older adults who are at a time in their lives when they are least able to recover financially.

Today, there are few viable options for recovering money lost to scams, but a Restitution Fund can help solve that problem. Under the bill, excess money from state civil penalty payments from consumer fraud enforcement cases would be directed to a new fund rather than the state’s general fund. To be eligible for the fund, the attorney general would have to bring a case against a defendant as a public enforcement action based on the Attorney General’s investigation establishing that the person was defrauded.

As things stand now, public civil law enforcement tools—don’t stop scam operations. Getting money back to people will give the Attorney General a reason to go after scammers and incentivize more people to report financial crimes if they know they could get their money back.

I also urge you to prohibit predatory real estate scams (SF 3334, Sen. Xiong; HF 3338, Rep. Freiberg). I’ve learned about a new scam that brokerage firms prey on vulnerable homeowners by offering them small gifts of cash for exclusive rights to sell their property for up to 40 years. These agreements are recorded in the county property records and if you choose not to use this firm or break the agreement a homeowner can face huge penalties of 3% of their property. In addition, if the homeowner fails to pay the penalty, the firm can file a lien on the home creating further problems. Already 500 of these agreements have been filed in the seven-county metro area. This is just wrong!

Please support both the restitution fund and prohibit these predatory real estate scams. We need more tools in the toolbox to stop these fraudsters and scam artists.

Thanks for your support.

Thank you.

[First Name] [Last Name]
[Your Address]