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Fraud Against Seniors
The article refers to Texas but the lesson can be applied in most places.

Older Texans´ special need for financial security and their concern about burdening their families make them targets for insurance fraud and misrepresentation.

Some signs of potential fraud and misrepresentation, along with tips for protecting yourself include:

An agent or other insurance sales representative urges you to pay cash. Pay only by check or money order made out to the insurance company or insurance agency -- not to the individual agent.
A salesperson or telephone caller claiming to be from Medicare or the Social Security Administration makes an insurance sales pitch. This is against the law. Get as much information as possible and file a complaint with TDI against anybody who claims to be from Medicare, Social Security, health insurance or another government agency and tries to sell you insurance or health insurance plans.
Someone uses high-pressure tactics like telling you this is your last chance at a special deal or appealing to your sympathy with a hard-luck story. Ask someone you trust to be present during an agent´s visit to your home. Don´t buy on the first visit.
You receive a mailer offering special information on Social Security or new federal tax laws if you´ll just return a postcard. The mailer looks as if it came from the government and might even have a Washington, D.C., return address. Before giving out any information about yourself, be aware that the card may bring an agent to your door with an unwanted -- and possibly high-pressure -- sales pitch.
You are told you need an insurance policy to avoid burdening your family. Resist appeals to guilt. Buy only the insurance you need and can afford.
A salesperson urges you to cash in your certificates of deposit (despite the interest penalty) and put the money into investments, annuities, or life insurance policies. Seek advice from your accountant, attorney, financial adviser, or a trusted friend or relative before committing to any unsolicited investment. The "investment" might be a life insurance policy or an annuity. Interest rates on life insurance policies should not be compared to yields on CDs or other financial investments, because part of every premium dollar goes to cover the cost of the insurance (death benefits). True yields on life insurance policies might actually be negative for the first three to five years or so. Read life insurance policies carefully to understand how the cash value is calculated and what the early withdrawal penalties are. Remember that the primary purpose of life insurance is to replace a family´s lost income if a wage earner dies prematurely. Life insurance rates can be quite high for people past retirement. In the case of annuities, pay special attention to the payout starting date and what would happen should you die before or during the payout period.
A salesperson urges you to cash in your existing life insurance policies and invest the cash value in new ones that supposedly will yield a higher return or provide more insurance. This practice called, "churning," may harm the policyholder financially, because the cash value of the new policy will build very slowly. If you bought the original policy at an earlier age, the new policy might cost more and offer less coverage. In addition, if you should die during the first two years of a new policy, the insurance company can contest claims for the death benefits. Many companies pay larger commissions to agents for new policies than for renewals. Ask yourself whether the agent has your best interest in mind or is just shooting for a higher commission.


                                                           
Source: The Insurance Information Institute. Click here to visit.

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