Safeguard Our Seniors program offers tips for protection from financial fraud

07/29/09 Seán Kinane
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Senior citizens should be wary of scams involving annuities and other types of financial fraud. About sixty people heard that message this afternoon at the Gulfport Senior Center during a discussion hosted by the Florida Department of Financial Services. Their outreach and education coordinator, Karin Bolin, helped organize the seminar called “Safeguard Our Seniors,” or SOS “which is an initiative that the [state’s] Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink, put together after hearing about so many issues regarding annuities and also some regarding reverse mortgages, wherein the seniors were not told ahead of time of all of the risks involved with those annuities.”

Rock Roque, an investigator with the Florida Department of Financial Services, warns that if a financial offer “sounds too good to be true, it generally is.”

Roque’s advice to people in order to avoid any type of financial fraud is: that any deal can wait a day while you check it out.

Seminar topics include consumer protection, fraud prevention, and prosecution of fraud. Some of the seniors in attendance were there just to learn more about financial scams, some because of concerns that they might become victims.

Michael Byrne, a captain with the division of insurance fraud in the state’s Department of Financial Services, offers this advice for seniors and others to avoid scams.

Jason Ohman is a consumer protection investigator in Pinellas County. His office has mediators to help people work through consumer disputes and can investigate crimes.

If you are concerned about financial fraud, you can contact consumer services at 877-MY-FL-CFO, which is 877-693-5236.

Safeguard Our Seniors Task Force - SOS

Previous WMNF coverage of fraud protection

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink

Gulfcoast Legal Services

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