The following was released by State Senator Terri Bonoff's office:
State Senator Terri Bonoff, who represents Minnetonka, Plymouth and Woodland, announced legislation yesterday to protect older Minnesotans from wire transfer fraud.
Bonoff was joined at a press conference with House author State Representative Joe Atkins (DFL – Inver Grove Heights) and Mike Rothman, the Commissioner of Commerce.
The legislative proposal is in response to the tens of thousands of older Minnesotans who have been scammed by making wire transfers. Scam artists often target seniors and use wire transfers because fraudulent activity is hard to track and law enforcement agencies have few tools to stop the fraud. This bill will provide law enforcement officials the tools they need to prevent the fraud from occurring.
Specifically, the legislation:
• Requires wire transfer companies to confirm the location provided by the sender is the location where the money ends up. This is important because too often, the sender believes the money is going to help a grandchild or a friend in a particular state or country – but the money is actually being transferred to a fraud “hotspot” in a different location.
• Providing more authority to the Department of Commerce to protect consumers by increasing penalties and regulatory actions against this type of organized fraud.
• Requiring wire transfer companies to provide a confirmation of the money sent and who picked up the transaction.
• Allowing a sender to be put on a “Do Not Send” list to prevent repeated transfers.
Last year Sen. Bonoff authored legislation to require wire transfer companies to establish a consumer education program to help warn seniors of the potential for fraud in a wire transfer. This bill will further protect seniors from wire transfer fraud.
"Taking advantage of our seniors' love of their grandchildren is something we cannot tolerate,” said Sen.Bonoff. “This bill is one tool of protection."
“Too many seniors fall prey as victims losing their life savings to wire transfer crimes,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman “It’s an underreported crime, and hopefully consumers will come forward to seek help. This legislation gives the Commerce Department additional tools to fight these types of crimes, and it is particularly timely during 2013 National Consumer Protection Week.”
The legislation will be heard in the Senate Commerce Committee on March 6.
Do you know someone who has been scammed into making wire transfers?