Don’t Be a Victim: What You Can Do to Avoid Insurance Crime

Insurance crime is not victimless. It costs Canadians more than $3 billion a year in insurance premiums and health care, emergency services and court costs. Insurance criminals take money right out of your pocket – when they cheat, you pay.

Insurance companies are committed to putting an end to this type of crime. Individual companies and Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) investigate insurance crimes and educate Canadians about their costs and consequences. IBC also lobbies for legislative changes that will increase the risk and decrease the profit associated with this type of activity.

You can help combat insurance crime. Below are some precautions you can take to avoid being a victim of insurance crime, and some clues to help you identify an insurance crime in action. If you have information about an insurance crime, report it.

Auto accident insurance crime

To avoid a staged collision:

  • Never tailgate; allow ample time to stop if the car ahead of
    you suddenly jams on its brakes.
  • Look beyond the car in front of you while driving. Apply your
    brakes if you see traffic slowing.

In the event of a collision:

  • Get the other car’s licence plate number. Also, count how many
    passengers were in the other car when the accident took place. Get their
    names, phone numbers and driver’s licence numbers. Later, you can compare
    this information to the information on the resulting claims, to make sure
    that all of the claimants were actually passengers in the car.
  • Note descriptions of the passengers. Try to find some
    characteristic that distinguishes each passenger.
  • Note how the passengers behave. Do they stand around and joke,
    but suddenly act injured when the police arrive?
  • Take pictures of the other car, the damage it received and the
    passengers. Take pictures on your cellphone or keep a disposable camera in
    your glove compartment for this purpose.
  • Call the police to the scene. Get a police report with the
    officer’s name, even if the damage is minor. If the police report notes
    just a small dent or scratch, it will be harder for crooks to claim
    serious injuries or car damage later.
  • Get involved if you’re a witness. Watch for the warning signs
    of a scam, and help the honest victim with details.
  • Call IBC’s TIPS line if you suspect an insurance crime. The 24-hour toll-free
    number is 1-877-IBC-TIPS (422-8477). Give the location of the collision,
    the licence plate number(s) of the car(s) involved, the names of people
    involved, the reason you think the collision is suspicious and as many
    other details as possible.

You can use the collision report form to note
the details about the accident, the driver(s) and the passengers.

Tow trucks

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) offers
excellent advice about what to do when you are approached by a tow truck driver
at the scene of an accident. This advice applies in most jurisdictions in
Canada:

  • Make sure the tow truck has some kind of licensing number on
    its side before you use its services.
  • Look to see if the tow truck is affiliated with a reputable
    company such as an automotive roadside assistance group or automobile
    association.
  • Ask if the tow truck driver has a police contract.
  • Listen for obvious clues. Does the driver recommend a particular
    repair facility without being asked? This might be an indication that a
    referral fee arrangement exists.
  • Carefully read everything the tow truck driver asks you to
    sign.
  • Ask that your vehicle be taken to a secure location where an
    adjuster or appraiser from your insurance company can have access to it.
  • Contact your insurance company, if possible, for information on
    towing and where to take your vehicle to be repaired.
  • Consider having your vehicle towed to a preferred vehicle
    repair shop. Some insurance companies use preferred repair shops where
    they have an agreement that guarantees your vehicle will be repaired to
    the highest possible standards. For more information, contact your
    insurance company.

After a collision:

  • Contact your insurance company if a stranger tries to steer you
    to an unknown body shop, doctor, chiropractor or lawyer. Give officials
    the names, addresses and phone numbers of these service providers.
  • See only medical and legal professionals you know and trust, or
    that are recommended by people you trust. Never take referrals offered by
    a stranger.
  • Check out the doctor or lawyer. Contact your provincial medical
    licensing board to ensure that your doctor is licensed and that no
    complaints have been lodged against him or her.
  • Know what your medical benefits are – what’s covered and what
    isn’t.
  • Keep detailed records of your medical treatments. Include all
    dates, locations, who provided the treatments, what diagnoses and services
    you received, and what medicine, supplies or equipment were provided.
  • Compare your records against the statements you receive to make
    sure the bills aren’t padded and that they don’t include treatments you
    didn’t receive. Are the treatment dates, doctor name(s), facility
    locations and medical services the same as you remember? Question your
    health provider and ask for clarification if you see problems or
    inconsistencies on your bills.
  • Never sign blank insurance claim forms.
  • Never give strangers your policy number, insurance ID number or
    any other information, especially if they offer you cash or free gifts,
    treatments or equipment.

Slips, trips and falls in business settings

Criminals are lazy. They don’t want to have to work for
their reward so they will target businesses that make their job easier for
them. Don’t let your operation be an easy target for an insurance criminal
looking to cash in big on a little “accident.” There are some simple
steps you can take to make your business less vulnerable to these criminals. Click
here
to get some tips on managing the many types of risk that
businesses face every day.

Check your VIN

Many insurance crimes are committed using or re-using
vehicle identification numbers (VINs).Your best defence against this type of
insurance crime is to ensure that your VIN is accurate.

February
9, 2011

Insurance
Scam Uncovered
Unsuspecting consumers are being targeted by a fake insurance company selling auto
insurance in Ontario.The false company, posing under the name Security Insurance Inc., has placed
newspaper ads across Ontario providing consumers with a toll-free number to
call for auto insurance. The scam directs victims to send money by Western
Union for the insurance coverage. After the funds have been forwarded, the
victims find that no insurance policy has been issued and the follow-up
phone number is out of service. A fraudulent website under the domain www.securityinsuranceinc.com is also selling fake
motorcycle, boat, auto and commercial insurance.If you suspect you may have been offered or purchased a fraudulent auto
insurance policy, take action immediately to confirm whether or not you
have coverage. Contact the insurance company that is set out in the policy.
Do not contact the broker or agent named in that policy.You may also contact Insurance Bureau of Canada’s TIPS Line at 1-877-IBC-TIPS
or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre (PhoneBusters) at 1-888-495-8501. If
you live in Ontario, you may contact the Registered Insurance Brokers of
Ontario at 416-365-1900 or 1‑800-265-3097.

 

 May
13, 2010
Auto Insurance Policy Scam
Newspaper advertisements claiming to be able to help people find low insurance rates
are luring consumers into purchasing fraudulent auto insurance policies by
calling a 1-800 number.The criminals behind this scam request payment for the insurance policy by wire
transfer (through wire transfer companies). They receive payment but do not
provide the consumer with a liability slip – which serves as proof of
insurance – and no insurance coverage exists.If you suspect you have been offered or have purchased a fraudulent auto
insurance policy, take action immediately to confirm whether or not
you have coverage. Contact the insurance company which is set out in the
policy. Do not contact the broker or agent named in that policy.If you discover that you have been offered or have purchased a fraudulent auto
insurance policy, contact Insurance Bureau of Canada’s TIPS Line at
1-877-IBC-TIPS or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre (PhoneBusters) at
1-888-495-8501. If you live in Ontario, you may also contact the Registered
Insurance Brokers of Ontario at 416-365-1900 or 1‑800-265-3097.