Beware Annuity Scams
Agents Target Seniors
Agents Target Seniors
Salesmen masquerading as “advisors” or “planners” run annuity scams every day in this country. Their favorite targets are seniors. Seniors make up 30 percent of fraud victims, according to consumer advocacy groups and we suspect the percentage would be much higher if all fraud cases were reported. When seniors fall prey to scams, they fall hard. Studies indicate that senior victims of financial abuse lose an average of $140,500 to investment and annuity scams. If you or a loved one has been the victim of an annuity scam or investment fraud or any form of financial elder abuse, please contact the annuity and investment fraud and financial elder abuse lawyers at Evans Law Firm at (415)441-8669, and we can help. As California lawyers, we only handle cases in California.
Unscrupulous advisors often use annuities as bait. Annuities, they claim, offer financial security and income levels designed to ease money worries in old age. Don’t believe them. In reality, annuity contracts are wells from which agents and carriers draw out your money in fees, commissions and surrender charges and you’re left with a trickle of cash or none at all. And that only after many years. At Evans Law Firm, we represent seniors who suffer from being manipulated into unsuitable annuities. If it’s happened to you or a loved one in California, call us and we can help
In the meantime, here are several tips if you are considering an annuity purchase:
• Avoid signing up for a premium bonus, because you will typically pay for this with surrender charges in the long run.
• Pay attention to annual maintenance costs and fees.
• Understand liquidity issues with owning an annuity, as withdrawals come with fees and IRS tax penalties.
• ALWAYS consider the tax consequences of contributions and withdrawals.
• Talk to a tax professional and don’t mistake tax deferment to mean no taxes.
• Be aware that agents will get higher commissions for variables annuity sales (annuities tied to market fluctuations).
• Have a trusted friend, relative or attorney present when reviewing and signing policies.
• Avoid annuities with surrender schedules that last more than seven years.
• Make sure surrender charges are less than 14 percent of the principle.
• Don’t put more than 35 percent of assets into annuities.
Proceed with Caution
Be especially wary of annuities as retirement plan vehicles; they are complex and dangerous, often unsuitable, and the tax consequences can be disastrous. Don’t lose tax deferral benefits; annuity withdrawals may be subject to tax prematurely. Resist high-pressured sales pitches or agents who gloss over details. Refuse quick decisions. Consult an independent financial consultant or counsel who is not compensated by sales commissions. Talk to your accountant or tax preparer. Take your time and get professional help.
If you or a loved one purchased an annuity or other investment contract from which you or a loved one has experienced a tax penalty or other financial loss (beyond that of reasonable investment risk) in Marin County or anywhere in California, contact the Evans Law Firm annuities, financial elder abuse, and fraud attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our attorneys have experience with annuities, life insurance, and large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.
Some of the major annuity and life insurance providers in California are:
- Aviva/Athene/Accordia Life Insurance Company
- Transamerica Life Insurance Company
- John Hancock Life Insurance Company
- Bankers Life Insurance and Casualty company
- Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
- Midland Life Insurance Company
- North American Company for Life and Health Insurance
- Pacific Life Insurance Company
- Prudential Life Insurance Company
- Genworth Life Insurance Company
- ING USA Annuity and Life Insurance Company
- Lincoln Benefit Life Company
- Metlife/Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
- Unum Life Insurance Company of America
- Voya/Reliastar Life Insurance Company