Insurance fraud: good news, bad news
Last week, at the annual Insurance Summit hosted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida’s CFO Jeff Atwater said his Bureau of Insurance Fraud arrests an average of four people a day. That’s both good news and bad news. It’s good to put fraudsters out of business since insurance fraud is not a victimless crime; honest people pay more than they need to for insurance since the cost of fraud inflates the cost of claims. But the “bad news” is that fraud fighters have always been kept busy, and they seem to be getting busier.
Just take a look at some of the news stories from the past week. Federal authorities charged 104 people with numerous identity theft and fraud offenses in the latest South Florida crackdown on a rampant problem involving tens of thousands of stolen personal identities. The Insurance Journal article said the charges involve fraud ranging from filing false tax returns to takeovers of bank and credit card accounts to skimmers used to steal information at gas pumps.
Next, there is the story from the Florida Times-Union that had all the elements of a good made-for-TV crime show. It’s a tale of spies, stolen identities and a faked death, perpetrated by a Jacksonville couple trying to collect $6.6 million on a life insurance policy.
And, then there is the latest warning from law enforcement alerting the elderly to watch out for traveling scam artists. Deputies arrested three people after they were caught performing work without the proper permits and licenses. WFLA-TV reported that the scam artists are unlicensed, uninsured workers – and if they get injured on the job or do shoddy work, the cost is borne by the victim.
Everyone, including senior citizens, can use a refresher to revitalize their “fraud radar” to avoid being a victim. Check out the On Guard for Seniors information. With four people a day arrested for fraud, there’s too much opportunity, and last week’s new stories prove the point.