You know those e-mails from that Nigerian prince, who just needs your bank account number so he can send you his money? Or the voice mail message from a company that wants to give you a free vacation, if only you'll give them your social security number? Or the contest you just won (that you swear you never entered) for which all you need to do is send a small cash payment to claim your prize?
Scams are everywhere – and while some may be obvious, others are not. And that, according to U.S. Postal Inspector Louis DiRienzo, is because the scammers themselves are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
We'll discuss common scams, from mail fraud to online scams to phone solicitations. We'll welcome any examples you have, and along the way, we'll try to identify some red flags that may signal to you that the next great opportunity to come your way may be nothing of the sort.
- Defines "affinity scam" as a transaction in which a person trusted by a senior, such as a caregiver, relative, guardian, "new friend," or service provider, claims to share similar interests or values and establishes a relationship with the senior, then uses the relationship to defraud the senior.
- Requires each financial institution to:
- educate its staff about affinity scams and how to identify transactions that may be part of an affinity scam;
- train staff members on educating seniors about affinity scams;
- provide senior depositors with educational materials on how to identify affinity scams; and
- offer seniors a "senior protection (checking) account."
- Directs the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection to:
- issue implementing regulations; and
- audit financial institutions periodically to ensure compliance with them.
- Sets forth senior protection account requirements, including protective measures to block and investigate transactions suspected of being an affinity scam.
- Instructs the Secretary of the Treasury to establish an income tax deduction of .77% of the average of the amount of deposits held by a financial institution in senior protection accounts.
- Subjects a noncompliant financial institution to a civil liability with respect to a senior who has sustained actual damage as a result of the institution's failure to comply with this Act.
- Directs the Secretary to require each financial institution, and each of its directors, officers, employees, or agents, to report any suspicious transaction relevant to a possible affinity scam.
For now, you can listen online to the recent broadcast on Scams.
It can happen to anyone, anywhere. Beware!"