In Auto

Don’t think you could be a victim of auto Insurance fraud?  Think again.  Insurance fraud happens every day.  As you will see, you may not even be aware of the fraud until after the fact.  Here is a list of five most common types of auto insurance fraud and some ways to recognize and prevent them from happening to you.

The Swoop and Squat

Have you heard of the “crash for cash” or the “swoop and squat?”  Hopefully you have not but if you have, it could be because you were scammed by the most common auto insurance fraud tactic known to the Insurance industry.  For those of you who are not familiar with the two phrases, they work like this.

The motorist in front of you slows down or comes to a stop in busy traffic, at intersections or on an on-ramp or off-ramp causing you to crash into the vehicle from behind.  These scammers sometime swoop in front of the victim causing the same rear end crash.  In almost every city across the country, rear-end accidents are considered the fault of the rear driver or in the case of these maneuvers, the victim of the scam. Frequently the scammer also claims to have back or neck injuries from the crash to scam even more money from your insurance company.

The Helpful Scammer

Sometimes the insurance scam comes after the fact.  You are approached or contacted after an accident by someone representing themselves as an insurance professional with the intention of convincing you to try the services of a particular professional to aide with your predicament.  This unassuming professional may recommend a specific clinic for your injuries, body shop for your auto damages or attorney for the inevitable legal issues auto accidents can cause.  This person does not have your best interest at heart.  They’re going to scam you.

This helpful and fraudulent “insurance professional” really intends to acquire your personal information to file false insurance claims.  They will tempt you with a cut of fraudulent gains but ultimately it is you who stands the chance of being prosecuted in these illegal transactions.  After an auto accident, you should only communicate with your insurance company and the insurance company of the other party involved.

The Fake Injury Scam

A common scam not exclusive to just auto accidents is the fake injury claim.  An unscrupulous individual involved in an accident may immediately cry wolf and claim injuries that are not real.  Whiplash and other soft tissue damage claims are very hard to prove on an X-ray.  A scammer in coordination with a shady doctor or other medical professional can demand hospitalization to aide in his scam. The scammer will file an insurance claim with your insurance company to cover the expense, even if it’s a false claim to get a payout from insurance companies.

The Phantom Victim

Beware.  An insurance scammer does not always have to be in the accident or at the scene of the accident to try to scam you.  This scam is known as “the phantom victim.”  This scammer will attempt to file bogus claims as an additional passenger or sometimes on the part of numerous phantom victims in the accident, claiming pain or injury to these unseen victims. This fraud is especially easy for scammers to pull off with the prevalence of online claim filings.

This scam can be impossible to prevent but you can thwart this fraudulent attempt at the scene of the accident.  Simply request the identification of other passengers involved in the accident at the scene of the accident.  Their names and phone numbers should be enough.  Then, if unrecognizable individuals show up in the claim, have the state’s insurance fraud bureau investigate these individuals.  That should scare them away and possibly have them arrested for their fraudulent actions.

The Drive Down

You and another driver meet at an intersection at the same time.  Though the other driver has the right of way, the driver waves you on.  All of a suddenly, Slam!  The friendly driver who allowed you to go has just plowed into the side of your vehicle.  You have just been a victim of “the drive down.”

Once the authorities arrive, this scammer will deny giving you the friendly “go ahead,” leaving you personally liable for the collision.  This same scam is often pulled off in parking lots where two drivers attempt to park in the same space.  The only way to avoid these types of trouble is to be alert while behind the wheel.  You should always stay inside your lane and follow “right of way” procedures at all times while driving.

Most people probably assume that those in vehicles around us every day are like us; just trying to get where we need to be.  Unfortunately, some of those on the road every day are looking for an opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting motorist.  Generally, those who commit these types of fraud have a great deal of experience in their actions and know how to play the system.

Being aware of what can happen is one step in the process of preventing these types of scams from landing right in the middle of your day.  Recognizing that you are about to become a victim of one of these scams is the easiest way to fight back and not be an insurance fraud statistic.



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