Buchanan: The Suncoast is the epicenter of scams

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SARASOTA, Fla. - Every year, seniors lose $3 billion to scams. According to Dailyfinance.com, in 2012 Florida ranked as the worst state in the nation for fraud. Congressman Vern Buchanan who represents Sarasota and Manatee Counties believes the Suncoast is the epicenter of it all.

"Some of the cases and situations I have heard about are deplorable, where many seniors lose all their money through a scheme on the internet or a telemarketing group," said Buchanan.

Buchanan represents an area with 200,000 constituents aged 65 and older, a hotbed for scammers.

"There is no other state that is more impacted in a bigger way," he said.

Earlier this year, the Republican joined colleagues from the other side of the aisle to introduce the Seniors Fraud Protection Act. The bill remains in committee. If passed, it would establish an advisory office within the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Affairs, tasked with alerting consumers of new scams and establishing an effective complaint system to ensure that reports of fraud are quickly forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

In the meantime, if you or a loved one have become the victim of a scam, Florida has a fraud hotline. The number to call is: 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.