Senator Elizabeth Warren has highlighted the dangers posed by cryptocurrency scams targeting seniors, receiving support from a cybersecurity expert who endorsed her digital asset legislation as a preventive measure against future scams.
In a Senate hearing on November 16, Warren noted that crypto fraud wasn’t “hitting all consumers equally,” citing FBI statistics that demonstrate how seniors were disproportionately affected.
“Last year, we saw a 350% increase in crypto investment scams targeting seniors,” Warren said. “That is the biggest spike among all age groups. That added up to more than $1 billion that seniors lost in crypto scams. And because many victims don’t report their experiences – as some of you have noted – out of shame or fear, that $1 billion figure is almost surely an underestimate.”
Warren declared that her proposed legislation, the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act, would streamline the monitoring of suspicious crypto-related activities by regulators, facilitating the identification and closure of fraudulent schemes.
Expert Steve Weisman was also in attendance at the hearing. Weisman, editor at Scamicide.com and senior lecturer at Bentley University, noted that crypto fraud is much harder to track down compared to credit card fraud, which is relatively easy to identify, stop, and trace.
This comes down to the fact that crypto tracing becomes extremely difficult once it has been passed through mixers, he said.
“Once it goes into the mixers, then you have problems. There is a legitimate privacy concern that people may have, but it does not come anywhere near to the scammers.”
Warren then asked Weisman why crypto was specifically being used to target seniors.
“It is the new, shiny object catching our mind,” Weisman said. “We think there is something there – I cannot help believe that to a certain extent it is the emperor’s new clothes.”
Weisman also voiced approval for Senator Warren’s Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act, aiming to establish equivalent Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations for digital assets as those applied to traditional fiat currency.
“You need to have the private sector and government working together,” Weisman said of the Act. “Your [Warren’s] legislation is long overdue. It is a no-brainer in the sense that it is something that absolutely would help immeasurably.”
Warren noted that her bill now has the support of 14 other bipartisan Senators, as well as Dick Durbin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Gary Peters, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
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