WILKES-BARRE -- U.S. Senator Bob Casey announced his new anti-scamming bill at a field hearing at the Luzerne County Courthouse. The bill aims to stop scammers who target seniors by increasing the maximum fines.
“You want to hunt these people down and hold them accountable for destroying someone's life,” Casey said.
Sarah Berhammer of Kingston Township is a victim of an identity scam. Someone stole her husband's credit card information in 2011, charging thousands of dollars.
“I couldn't believe it. I says, 'He's deceased. How could they steal his identity?'” she said.
The crook has been caught and she hopes Casey’s bill to stiffen penalties will make someone think twice before trying to scam someone else.
But identity theft and phone scams are all too common, and Senator Casey’s bill does not address a way to make it easier for prosecutors to catch scammers. They are almost never caught.
"Roadblocks are put up when it's outside of the country,” said Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis. “We need to work closely with foreign partners, financial industries, local law enforcement, everybody working together.”
That includes a recent IRS scam. Officials warn if you receive a call from the IRS saying you owe them money, it's a scam. The IRS does not call and does not threaten you with arrest.