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State Rep. Lillie, Commerce Commissioner Rothman team up to protect seniors against fraud

3/7/2016 4:59:04 PM

“Constituent Coffee” meeting held in North Saint Paul as part of National Consumer Protection Week

For Immediate Release:

NORTH SAINT PAUL – Minnesota seniors are frequent targets for financial fraud, so they need to be vigilant and take steps to protect their finances.

That was the message from State Representative Leon Lillie and Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman when they met today with seniors at Polar Ridge Senior Living in North Saint Paul as part of National Consumer Protection Week.

“Prevention is the best defense against scams and fraud,” said State Rep. Leon Lillie. “Educating yourself about your rights as consumers and protecting your personal financial information is so important. It has been great working with Governor Dayton and Commissioner Rothman to help provide the tools that seniors and everyday Minnesotans can use to protect themselves.“

“The best way to prevent fraud is to avoid getting drawn into a scam to begin with, whether it comes your way on the phone, through the Internet or from a knock on your door,” said Commissioner Rothman. “When fraud does happen, we want to know about it as soon as possible to stop it and catch the crooks.”

According to the Investor Protection Trust, one out of every five persons over the age of 65 has been victimized by a financial swindle. The threat of senior financial fraud is expected to grow as the senior population itself grows. In Minnesota, the senior population will double between 2010 and 2030.

As the state’s consumer protection agency, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is proposing the Minnesota Safe Seniors Financial Protection Act--legislation to collaborate with the state’s financial institutions and professionals to help protect older adults against financial abuse.

Because of their long-standing relationships of trust with older clients, financial institutions and their employees can serve as a first line of defense to spot and stop financial crimes. But current law limits the actions they can take to protect their senior clients. 

Endorsed by AARP Minnesota, the Commerce Department’s proposed legislation would provide new tools for state-regulated broker-dealers, investment advisers and financial institutions, including banks, credit unions and other financial businesses such as money transmitters. 

Under the proposed legislation, these financial service providers would be required to report senior fraud to authorities. They would also be allowed to notify and work with a victim’s family members, as well as temporarily delay the withdrawal or transfer of funds when fraud is suspected. 

Some Basic Tips for Seniors to Protect Their Finances 

End the call. Don’t be a “courtesy victim.” When it comes to protecting yourself, there is no such thing as being rude. If you are uncomfortable or confused, just hang up the phone and end the conversation. Trust your instincts.

Phone a friend. Reach out to someone you trust, such as a friend, family member or even your doctor, if you have questions or feel you are in an uncomfortable situation involving your finances. 

Report the fraud. If you believe you may be a victim of fraud, contact the Minnesota Commerce Department. Report the fraud so others don’t fall victim to the same scam.

Commerce is here to help

If you have questions or concerns about a potential fraud or scam, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-857-3602 (Greater Minnesota).

Media Contact:
Ross Corson
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce
P: 651-539-1463 | C: 651-368-5050 |

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