A bill meant to help keep seniors from losing their savings to scams has become law.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) has signed into law a bill called the “Senior Savings Protection Act,” which lets financial agents put a 10-day hold on transactions they believe could be attempts to financially exploit a person over 60 or with a disability. That broker-dealer must then contact state securities and senior welfare officials and can contact the person’s family or guardians about the suspected fraud attempt.
Senate sponsor Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale) says it will protect people who are too often taken advantage of.
“And literally their life savings [might be] taken from them, and once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Schmitt told Missourinet.
Secretary of State Jason Kander said he took the idea to Schmitt and House sponsor, Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City). He said it addressed a real need.
“Financial professionals that are in perhaps the best position to help prevent exploitation were in a position where they were operating under a legal structure that effectively discouraged doing the right thing and acting to prevent fraud,” said Kander.
Current law does not allow an agent who suspects financial exploitation to raise a concern to anyone not named on the account in question.
“Even if a broker saw something, this Nigerian lottery scam, or one of these scams about sending money to somebody’s grandchild who’s down in South America, they don’t have any ability to do anything about it right now,” said Schmitt.
Kander said no one should be concerned about having access to their savings.
“I think this is going to be just an additional tool in the toolbox to help prevent the financial exploitation of seniors,” said Kander.
A hold would expire either in 10 days or when a review finds no evidence of fraud. The law would protect an agent from civil liability for having placed a hold on a transaction.
It is set to become effective August 28.