Diller family warns of high-pressure sales to seniors during pandemic

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 8:18 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A family from Diller, Nebraska is hoping to warn others after their elderly mom had an interaction with an insurance agent they describe as shady. Thankfully, a phone call from a friend kept her from losing any money this time.

84-year-old Betty Hubka’s family said they don’t think she was being scammed, but they do think what went on was wrong and are hoping to let others know what to look out for, especially in small towns.

Hubka lives alone, so she thought it was odd when an insurance agent showed up unannounced at her house late on a Tuesday.

“He didn’t have an appointment or anything,” Hubka said. “It was time to start thinking about getting ready for bed. I don’t know what time it was. I’d have to guess at least 8:30.”

While the agent was there, a friend called Hubka. When she explained the situation to her friend, that friend reached out to Hubka’s children, who are in charge of her finances.

“I actually got on the phone with him, and he was very cordial and explained everything to me, but then he said, ’She’s paying $57 and it’s going to be $112,’ so I’m like, ’Wait it’s double?’ And he said well she needs this and she needs to sign something right away,” said Tim Hubka, Betty’s son.

Hubka said he asked to see what his mom was signing, and gave the insurance agent an email address to send it to, but said that’s when the agent started getting defensive.

“He started to say things about how he’s been an agent for 40 years and how dare I question his intentions, but when they start to get pushy and say you need to sign something tonight, that makes me concerned, and there are a lot of elderly people in these small towns that probably don’t know better,” Hubka said.

Hubka thought it was odd that a man would show up at an elderly woman’s house during a pandemic.

“I’m in sales too, and I know face-to-face interaction is good, but in a pandemic, why can’t you just call?” Hubka said.

The insurance agent left a card, but it doesn’t have a physical address or email on it. There’s only a P.O. Box from Omaha. Hubka said he was skeptical, because this has happened to his mom before, with a less happy ending.

“Two or three years ago, we found out she had two cancer policies, two home health policies, one was identical to this one,” Hubka said. “It was the same situation where a man showed up unannounced and she thought it sounded like a good idea and signed it. She ended up losing out on $1,500 that was wasted because this guy stopped by.”

Hubka’s advice for other people is to keep a close eye on your elderly loved ones, and remind them never to sign anything without having someone else look over it first.

The Better Business Bureau suggests leaving a note by the phone or somewhere your loved one can see it that reminds them of red flags to look for and how to decline someone pushing something or asking for personal information.

The Hubka family said from now on, they’ll keep a closer eye on Betty and any unexpected visitors in the future.

Copyright 2020 KOLN. All rights reserved.

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