November 13, 2009

CFO Sink Encourages Floridians to Learn More About Senior Protection During National Caregivers Month

TALLAHASSEE - Florida CFO Alex Sink today encouraged Floridians to recognize National Family Caregivers Month by learning more about protecting seniors from financial fraud. Citizens can get more information either by logging on to or by attending one of CFO Sink’s Safeguard Our Seniors forums being held this month around the state by her Department of Financial Services.

“National Caregivers Month is an important opportunity to recognize the family members, friends and caregivers who care for and advocate on behalf of Florida seniors,” said CFO Sink. “Eighty percent of long-term care is provided by family or friends, and we all owe a debt of gratitude to those caregivers who give their own time and resources to benefit the lives of others.”

CFO Sink’s Safeguard our Seniors initiative, launched more than a year ago in response to increasing reports of financial fraud targeting seniors, is focusing this month on educating and informing caregivers about how they can help protect the seniors they care for from financial fraud.

CFO Sink encouraged caregivers to review the following tips to protect the seniors they care for from financial fraud:

Make sure the agent and company you are dealing with are licensed in Florida.

Never sign blank insurance forms or other documents. Demand copies of anything you sign.

Ask the agent to put in writing and sign their name to any claims made regarding interest rates, bonuses or other benefits of the product they are recommending.

Seek the advice of an impartial third-party such as a tax attorney, CPA or other financial professional before purchasing an annuity. Also, make sure your family or caregiver knows what you are doing.

Make sure you understand what you are buying. Do not just take the agent’s word for it. Read and understand the documents for yourself.

Be wary if you are asked to cash out current investments to fund the purchase of a new investment. There may be costly surrender fees.

Never let yourself be pressured by alleged time limits. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

For more information on CFO Sink’s Safeguard Our Seniors initiative, visit or call the Consumer Helpline at (850) 413-3089 or toll-free at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).