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Insurance fraud is a serious charge. An estimated $30 billion is lost every year by insurance companies as a result of fraud and related costs. There are many different actions and events that can result in being charged with this crime. Any act that is committed with the intention of defrauding or misleading the insurance process can be charged as a crime, even if the act was unintentional. Keep reading to learn about different ways fraud happens in the insurance industry.
One common type of fraud for auto insurance companies is the staged accident. Usually, the victim and the driver are working together to create an accident or inflate the damage or injury caused in an accident to receive a bigger insurance payout. In some cases, even insurance investigators and others can be involved in these cases, helping to defraud the system and receiving a cut of the insurance payout as a reward.
Reporting a car stolen when it isn’t is another example of fraudulent behavior. This is another common scam, and can be done in different ways. Ultimately, the owner will make the car “disappear” and then claim that it was stolen to receive the insurance benefits. In most cases, they will sell the car to a body shop known as a “chop shop” where it will be cut up and sold for parts. Then, there is no trail of the car so the insurance company pays the claim. Some owners will sell their car to a buyer overseas without filling out any paperwork so that they can claim it was stolen. This is harder to do because it is difficult to ship a vehicle overseas without a paper trail, but it can be done.
Health Insurance or Medical Billing Fraud
This is most often committed by healthcare professionals, but patients can be involved, as well. Insurance billing has very strict requirements, and those attempting to bill for services that the patient didn’t receive will almost always be caught. Still, it doesn’t stop doctors from trying. Another way this occurs is when a doctor suggests unnecessary procedures for patients. For example, if you are visiting the doctor for a cold and they suggest invasive testing that has nothing to do with your cold symptoms, this could be a case of fraud.
Damage Not Repaired
The single most common method of car fraud, which is committed constantly, is car damage fraud. People will report accidents, get estimates for repairs, and then when the insurance check comes, they will opt out of fixing the car and instead spend the money elsewhere. Many people don’t see much harm in doing this, but every time a claim is filed with an insurance company, every single customer pays for it in higher premiums. This doesn’t just affect the insurer. It affects everyone, including the person who filed the claim.
Staged Home Disasters or Damage
Home insurance companies see almost as much fraud as auto insurers, if not more. Homeowners can commit many different types of fraud, but staging damage or a disaster on the property is often the most common. Staged fires, for example, can cause thousands of dollars in damage to the home. People may remove important family items, create a list of expensive property that has been “destroyed” in the fire, and attempt to collect insurance payments. In almost all of these cases, the homeowner is away from the property with a solid alibi. They hire someone to set the fire or otherwise vandalize the home so that they become the victim.
In the case of storm damage and disasters, criminals may attempt to enhance the damage caused to their home as the result of a storm or natural disaster. They might even attempt to file a claim when no damage has occurred, simply because they know the insurance company is inundated with claims and might not look too closely.
If you’ve been charged with insurance fraud of any kind, you need to contact qualified Montgomery County insurance fraud lawyers right away. They can help you understand the charges against you and get the best outcome for your case.