We hear on the news or read in the newspaper scams all the time that target older Americans and those who may be more apt to trust people who intend only to rip them off.
Reverse mortgages‚ credit card fees and hidden interest as well as housing scams lead to older adults losing millions each year. And much of that money was likely intended to be used for retirement purposes. And losing cash in a scam can lead the elderly to rely heavily on loans or credit cards‚ which can lead to debt problems. Bankruptcy in Los Angeles‚ however‚ will protect retirement funds‚ pensions and 401(k) accounts and still discharge built-up debt that is making life difficult for our oldest Americans.
Consulting with an experienced Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney for those who have been the victim of a scam can help fix these types of financial problems.
A recent CNNMoney article states that one out of every five older Americans have been sold a bad investment‚ paid fees above the norm for a financial service or product or have been defrauded‚ according to a survey conducted by the Investor Production Trust‚ in 2010. The survey found about $2.9 billion in collective losses last year alone.
The story focuses on a 79-year-old California man whose local insurance agent convinced him to move $113‚000 in savings held in annuities into deferred annuities that tied up the money for up to 16 years. He paid $11‚000 in penalties and had to pay big surrender fees if he wanted to get it‚ requiring him to rely on his children to pay living expenses at the end of his life.
The article states 44 percent of complaints from investors come from seniors and one out of every three fraud cases involve the elderly. Many older Americans have spent years saving; their houses are paid off and their net worth on average is $638‚000.
Some other reasons seniors are targeted by scams — they have time to listen to pitches because they’re retired‚ they are less able to make complex and difficult financial decisions on their own. They can be trusting.
Here are some typical sales pitch tactics that are used with older adults:
- An invitation for a free lunch that leads to a high-pressure sales pitch or not serving the meal until the person agrees to an in-house consultation.
- Sales calls will use nice voices and an easing tone to get older Americans to give in and agree to a meeting.
- Agents will attempt to comfort and be friends with the senior‚ especially if they sense they are lonely.
- Sales pitches promising an exceedingly high return on the investment.
- It’s a limited-time offer and the person must act now or lose out.
All of these scams and high-pressure situations can lead to big financial problems for older adults. Many times‚ these economic difficulties can lead to high amounts of debt for people who are unable to work and bring in more money than monthly pension payments and Social Security.
But filing for bankruptcy can clear debt and allow the remaining years of a person’s life to be less stressful. And bankruptcy laws protect retirement accounts‚ pensions and other exempt funds.
Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorneys, Cal West Law, will provide a free consultation to help guide you in making a decision that works for you. In Encino‚ Glendale‚ and Los Angeles‚ just call (800) 568-0707.
Protecting your parents: Keep the sharks at bay‚ by Lisa Gibbs‚ CNNMoney