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BellaOnline's Insurance Editor

Insurance Fraud--Prevent It!

Insurance fraud is not a crime you hear about often, but it is an extremely costly one. Insurance fraud is the 2nd most costly white collar crime in America (2nd to tax evasion). Every year insurance fraud cost consumers approximately $150 billion in damages. The average family is left with paying a minimum of $1,000 a year in higher insurance premiums.

Despite this, research conducted on consumersí attitude toward insurance fraud; four of every five Americans didnít see anything wrong with making a fraudulent insurance claim to receive money they werenít entitled to. In addition, many people believe insurance crimes are victimless crimes. In reality we, the average consumer, senior citizen, business owner are all victims.

We will continue to be penalized with higher insurance premiums, goods and services to compensate for the hundreds of millions of dollars lost a year by insurance fraud schemes, such as auto fraud, Medicare fraud and workers compensation fraud.

Avoiding Staged Auto Accidents

Picture it. Youíre driving on a busy street on a beautiful Saturday morning. A fairly old Ford Escort full of passengers quickly cuts in front of you and slams the breaks. You fail to react and subsequently rear-end the Escort thinking itís your fault and that youíre lucky to be alive. But youíre wrong. This time, it isnít your fault. This time youíve been scammed by fraudsters who have staged the entire accident.

Every year staged accidents cost the insurance industry about $20 billion. These costs are passed on to you in the form of insurance premium hikes each year.

Staged accidents date as far back as ancient Greece when insurance first began. Today, with the rise of modern technology, staged accidents have become very sophisticated, often making it nearly impossible to detect fraud.
Auto scams can range from rear-ending car accidents to adding more damage after the accident. Auto scams can also include fake helpers such as repair facilities, doctors and lawyers. It is critical that you know that these types of fraud exist and how you can avoid becoming the next victim of auto fraud.

Common Staged Accidents

-Rear ending car accidents: In this type of staged accident, a scam driver
will quickly get in front of your car and slam his breaks leaving you with no
choice but to rear-end his car. After the accident, he will collect money
for the damages done and may claim more money for fake injuries. When you
drive always make sure that there is plenty of room between cars. If an
accident does happen, be sure to record all the details of the accident: the
damage done to both cars and also the number of people in the car. This is a
great time to pull out those camera phones.

-Adding damage after the accident: It is not uncommon, after an accident, for
scammers to take the vehicle to another location and cause more damage to the
vehicle. Again, a picture is worth a thousand words. Your picture will
record the damage from the accident that YOU were involved in.

-Fake helpers: after the accident, some scammers will offer to help find you
an auto repair shop, doctor or lawyer. While this may seem like a thoughtful
and kind gesture, be leery. The repair shop may charge you a lot more. Scam
doctors and lawyers will also lie to the insurance company to claim more.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Denise M. Castille. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Denise M. Castille. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Denise M. Castille for details.

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