State Fines Salem Agent for Deceptive Marketing

March 27, 2012 -- The Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) has fined a Salem insurance agent $9,000 for misleading the public about his expertise and qualifications and for failing to report misdemeanor criminal prosecutions.


The department’s Insurance Division found that Douglas B. Adams used the title “Certified Senior Advisor” after his professional credentials expired for nonpayment of dues. He indicated that he wrote a booklet about annuities when he wasn’t the author and implied that he had a business called “Senior Financial Services” when that was an assumed business name and he had no employees.


“Oregon has strong rules designed to make sure seniors or others don’t turn to agents who are not qualified to advise or who misrepresent their expertise,” Acting Insurance Administrator Lou Savage said. “Seniors, with a lifetime of savings, are often targets for this type of deceptive marketing.”


DCBS issued rules in 2009 that set strong standards for the use of titles and credentials by those who sell insurance and financial products. For example, the rules prohibit individuals from using nonexistent credentials or titles that come from organizations that primarily teach sales/marketing.


In this case, Adams also failed to notify the division that he was prosecuted in 2009 in Marion County for the misdemeanor crimes of telephonic harassment and for unlawful possession of a firearm.


Consumers with complaints about an agent can contact the Insurance Division’s consumer advocates at 1-888-877-4894 (toll-free). The advocates are available to answer questions about all types of insurance and to help resolve complaints with insurance companies.

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Having known someone who was swindled by Mr. Adams, this fine comes as a welcome, albeit, minimal punishment for him. He used local businesses' meeting/conference rooms to recuit clients (especially ones with no direct descendants), alienate them from their families, and swindle their life savings and investments away from them and into his own pockets. Let's hope anyone who ever comes into contact with him will run the other way.