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Identity thieves cashed in my tax deferred annuity, is the Insurance Company Liable?

Rancho Cucamonga, CA |

I bought a fixed annuity while living in CA, I wanted to do all that I could to protect my annuity savings from unauthorized transactions, transfer and withdrawals, so with the help of a local company I was able to persuade the annuity company to allow me to add a security code to my contract, which had to be used before they could complete any transaction. Identity thieves were able to impersonate me and withdrew all my money (less surrender charges, off course), but the insurance company completed the transaction without authenticating my identity using the security code they allowed me to add as an additional security measure. Are they now liable for completing the transaction? Theannuity company is in Iowa and I don't mind filing suit there if needed.

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Attorney answers 5


I need some more details but As a California Attorney and one of the very few that are Fraud Examiners ( CFE member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners) I can help you with this problem. and

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If they were negligent in allowing the money to be withdrawn, then yes, the insurance company could be held liable. You need to speak with an attorney that handles insurance cases. You also need to contact the police about the identity theft.


Not unlike a Bank, this company had your money and without authorization gave it to someone else. There is no reason whatsoever that they should refuse to give you your money now based ONLY on the facts you've posted. It is the insurance company and not you that has been cheated. Any refusal to give you your funds (based solely on your facts as posted) is in bad faith and opens them up to potential additional damages.


This case definitely sounds in negligence. They definitely owed you a duty ... the question in my mind is, "What measures did they take to ensure that the drawer was actually you?"

Did they require a signature in writing?
Did they send a confirmatory letter or e-mail?
Did they talk to you on the phone at an authorized number on the account?

I would be inclined to file suit in California, since the annuity company does business in your state and has subjected itself to your jurisdiction. Make them do the hard work.

Good luck!

Remember: I'm not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice. Consult your own attorney.


Possibly. Annuities are contracts so please look at the original contract very carefully, as it might mention the situation you described above. You may want to take that contract to an attorney experienced in this matters. Also, quite typically, insurance companies require original notarized signatures for surrenders or even partial withdrawals. So if there is notary that is involved in a forgery, then the notary may be liable as well. Good luck.

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