While many companies face fraud from the inside (their own employees), individuals may have to fight fraud from outside sources, like companies seeking to take money from the elderly or those who cannot protect themselves.
A Rhode Island estate planning attorney and his employee recently pled guilty to obtaining millions of dollars in death benefits and investments using the names of terminally ill individuals. They not only stole the identity of terminally ill patients to receive profits from insurance policies and bonds, but they also visited facilities for terminally ill patients and contacted their family members in order to sell them small life insurance policies.
They then used the patients’ personal information to falsely obtain more than 200 variable annuities that would pay out upon the owner’s death, all done without the patients’ knowledge or consent.
There are several ways that fraud against an individual, especially one who is gravely ill, could have been prevented:
- Have trusted family members or an independent third party, such as a trustee involved in the financial aspects of the terminally ill individual.
- Research the company that you are investing with.
- Research the investment or investment strategy.
- Don’t give personal information out before you have done your research.
- Don’t be pressured to make a quick decision, take your time.
- Regularly check the credit history of a terminally ill individual to see if any accounts have been opened recently without their knowledge.