Natural Disasters Prompt Congressional Action to Protect Older Adults
Earlier this week, members of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging urged Americans to be cautious of scams targeting vulnerable communities and introduced legislation to create a National Advisory Committee on Seniors and Disasters.
During a committee hearing on the topic, Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced the Protecting Seniors During Disasters bill, which would establish a national advisory committee to provide guidance on how to prepare seniors for an emergency and evaluate their health needs during an emergency, as well as what activities should be carried out after an emergency is declared.
Senator Casey, the ranking minority member of the Aging Committee, also joined Chairman Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) in urging people, particularly older adults, to be cautious of scams and con artists in the wake of recent disasters. Reports from federal agencies such as FEMA and the Federal Trade Commission indicate that scammers are calling people about fake relief funds/charities, fraudulent flood insurance charges and unlicensed contractors that do not follow through on, or lack the skills to legally do, home and property repairs.
For tips and resources to avoid home improvement scams, AAAs can share n4a's consumer brochure “Home Improvement Scams: Tools to Reduce Your Risk.” Print a PDF or order hard copies.
Check out the resources below for additional consumer protection information for disaster-impacted areas:
- National Center for Disaster Fraud
- Coping After Weather Emergency – FTC
- State Consumer Protection Offices
- National Association of Attorneys General
Individuals and organizations can also donate to the n4a Disaster Relief Fund. All donations will go straight to affected AAAs in the form of cash awards so that they can best meet local and individual clients' needs. It's a great way to extend your agency's support to your peers and their clients as affected areas begin to recover and rebuild.