A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would require creditors establish a dedicated phone line to assist older Americans who may have been scammed or otherwise have questions about possible billing errors.
H.R. 4743, the Reporting Instances of Non-authorized Grift (RING) Act of 2023, was introduced last week by Rep. Kweisi Mfume [D-Md.].
Creditors would be required to set up toll-free numbers that are operated by individuals located in the United States, for the express purpose of helping individuals over the age of 50 navigate billing errors and fraudulent activity. The number would need to be published and promoted and the individuals who answer the phones must be real people who can also provide an option for individuals who wish to speak Spanish during the call. Individuals answering the phone would be prohibited from asking for personally identifiable information, like Social Security numbers, from those people calling into the service.
“As technology evolves, monetary theft by way of scams and fraud are becoming far more common, as criminals are able to use skilled deceit to rob hardworking Americans of their financial security,” said Rep. Mfume in a statement. “My legislation serves as a lifeline for senior citizens to easily recoup their hard-earned finances through a readily accessible phone line specifically tailored for their use. No longer will older adults feel as though they have nowhere to turn when they need assistance recovering funds that are rightfully theirs.”
The bill is endorsed by AARP and the National Consumer Law Center.