U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is leading a letter this week to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), pushing the agency to better protect users of peer-to-peer payment applications (P2P apps) from scams. As P2P apps like Venmo, Cash App, PayPal or Zelle have become more popular, scammers are increasingly targeting older adults on P2P platforms. Currently, banks are only required to compensate consumers who lost money to a scam for payments they didn’t authorize, making it difficult for many seniors who authorized a payment to a scammer posing as their bank.
U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) joined Senator Casey in sending the letter.
As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aging, Senator Casey held a hearing in September 2021 about scams that particularly affect older adults. Witnesses testified that there aren’t enough common-sense consumer protections available to older adults using P2P apps and that scams involving these platforms disproportionately affect communities of color.
“Particularly for older adults with lower incomes, losing even a few hundred dollars can be devastating. Given the increased prevalence of P2P fraud against older adults, we encourage the CFPB to move forward in issuing this guidance to provide better tools to protect themselves and their families,” wrote the Senators.
According to the FTC, P2P apps are popular with scammers because of the ease with which consumers can make payments to individuals they have never met on P2P platforms, facilitating quick purchasing decisions. The FTC has also found that older adults are increasingly using payment apps or services and, in 2020 alone, older adults reported $10 million in losses associated with complaints related to “payment apps and services.”
Read the letter to CFPB here.
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