DES MOINES - Advocates for seniors joined with prosecutors Wednesday in seeking a change in state law to allow individuals to sue under Iowa's anti-fraud laws.
Supporters of the change said Iowa is the only state in the nation that doesn't give its citizen this right.
"It is unfair, particularly in these tough economic times, for Iowa law to deny its citizens the right to recourse when they have been frauded," said Tony Vola, of Clive, head of AARP, the largest group representing seniors.
Advocates have sought the changes for years but the Legislature has opted not to act.
At a Statehouse news conference, advocates said when Arkansas approved such legislation 10 years ago, Iowa became the only state where consumers fraud victims lack legal standing in court.
AARP State Director Bruce Koeppl said his group was getting involved because seniors are often targeted for fraud schemes.
"Iowans, especially older Iowans who are often the targets of fraud and scams, deserve this protection," said Koeppl. "The current economic downturn presents more opportunities for Iowans to be exposed to scams, and less ability to recover their losses from scams."
The attorney general's office estimates that 3,500 to 5,000 Iowans are victims of individual fraud schemes each year and now can't go to court with fraud claims to recover their losses.