How Can I Avoid Insurance Fraud as I Get Older?

What is being done to combat fraud and protect our seniors lifetime savings from criminals? According to estimates from the Federal Trade Commission, one out of five seniors fall victim to fraud. And in New York alone, a half a million New York seniors have been fraud victims.

A MetLife study found that seniors lose an estimated $2.6 billion from financial abuse each year. Seniors account for more than half of all investor complaints received by state securities regulators.

Senator Gillibrand from New York is proposing a Senior Investor Protections Act that would create a national grant program for states to protect seniors from fraud. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners works with state organizations to protect seniors from abusive practices. A program called Get Smart About insurance is available to help those make a well-informed decision.

The Florida Legislature ended a three-year battle by establishing legislation that will help shield the state’s senior citizens from insurance and annuities fraud, according to the Miami Herald newspaper.

The Safeguard Our Seniors bill arrived as more seniors are falling prey to deception, with 500 fraud investigations opened in the state last year alone, the Herald reports.

“Every year, my department investigates hundreds of bad actors who prey upon Florida seniors, luring them into inappropriate investments and draining their hard-earned savings,” Florida’s Department of Financial Services CFO Alex Sink stated.

The bill provides stricter penalties for those who manipulate annuities and force them to pay damages to victims, the Herald reports. The bill will also extend the time a senior can review and cancel policies.

Additionally, the bill would ban a life insurance agent from serving as a beneficiary, guardian or trustee of the customer’s policy, reports the Herald.

The Coalition against Insurance Fraud estimates that insurance fraud costs Americans more than $80 billion each year. Consumers should examine all documents and work with reputable firms when purchasing an annuity or life insurance policy, experts say.

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