The unfortunate truth is that every single person at any given time can become the victim of a life insurance scam. In recent news, scam artists have been targeting widows by posing as life insurance representatives.
Widows from various cities all across the United States have recently become victims of a life insurance scam. As of right now, this includes Alabama, Washington and Georgia.
A Washington resident, Irene Schell, 46, recently lost her husband earlier this month. Schell received a phone call shortly after her husband’s death from a woman claiming that her husband had a life insurance policy.
But there was a catch.
According to the women on the phone, the policy was delinquent and Schell would need to pay back premiums of $2,596 in order to receive the proceeds of her husband’s $35,000 policy.
The woman on the phone said the premiums has been paid by her husband’s Social Security until 2012, which sounded off to Schell. She also claimed to be working with Prudential Life Insurance and that Schell and her late husband have been clients for years.
Schell was instructed to purchase a prepaid debit card from Safeway, load the money onto the card, and then mail it via FedEx.
“Like a fool, I dashed down to my bank and got it in cash,” said Schell. “I think I saw the dollar signs. I didn’t use good judgment.”
Fortunately, when Schell went to purchase the prepaid debit card, the store manager informed Schell that they stopped selling that type of card since they had been linked to scam artists.
“I can’t believe I did that,” Schell said. “You just don’t have your head together.”
After receiving the news from the Safeway store manager, Schell contacted a local Prudential insurance agent to make sense of this issue. The agent informed Schell that she was the third women to call today with the same story. Fortunately, none of them followed through.
The Washington Insurance Commissioner’s office was contacted immediately after Schell’s inquiry.
“We’ve only heard about it in the Spokane area,” Insurance Commissioner’s Office spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis said. “It may just be that we haven’t heard from anybody in other parts of the state yet.”
The good news is that any state insurance commissioner office can look up anyone and see if they have a valid life insurance policy. You can find your state’s commissioner here with the help from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
All three women believe the scammers used information from their husband’s obituaries published in local newspapers to make the calls seem more believable.
Keep in mind that life insurance companies never require beneficiaries to pay money to get a payout. If you believe you might be a victim of insurance fraud, do not be afraid to contact your state insurance commissioner.