Don't Blame it on Bad Luck; In Time for Friday the 13th - 13 Ways Consumers Can Fight Fraud

Apr 11, 2001, 01:00 ET from Insurance Fraud and Auto Theft Prevention Authorities

    MECHANICSBURG, Pa., April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Friday the 13th has long been
 associated with bad luck.  But some of the least lucky Pennsylvanians are
 those who find themselves in the middle of an insurance fraud scheme on any
 day of the year.  These scams include staged auto accidents, arson and bogus
 workers' compensation claims.
     In fact, insurance fraud affects all Pennsylvanians.  This felony crime
 adds hundreds of dollars a year to the average family's insurance premiums,
 according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.
     Still, when it comes to fraud, a little knowledge can go a long way toward
 improving anyone's "luck."  This Friday the 13th, the Pennsylvania Insurance
 Fraud Prevention Authority offers Pennsylvania's consumers the following 13
 ways to protect themselves from insurance fraud and help bring fraud criminals
 to justice:
 
       1. Report insurance fraud.  The number-one way to stop fraud is to tell
          authorities about it.  If you suspect insurance fraud, call the
          IFPA's toll-free tip line at 1-888-565-IFPA.
 
       2. Don't be tempted to commit insurance fraud.  Some people treat an
          accident or burglary as an opportunity to benefit financially.
          Don't allow yourself to fall into this trap -- you could be
          arrested, fined, or incarcerated.
 
       3. Drive carefully.  Allow for plenty of space between your car and
          other vehicles on the road.  Fraud criminals often try to force
          innocent motorists into collisions.  Don't become a victim of a
          staged accident.
 
       4. Only buy insurance from licensed agents.  Make sure your agent is
          licensed to sell insurance in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
 
       5. For all health insurance claims, review your Explanation of Benefits
          (EOB).  Make sure the billing, services rendered, dates and other
          information on every EOB are accurate.  If something doesn't seem
          right to you, call your insurer.
 
       6. Always read your policy, and never pay premiums in cash.  Review all
          policies to ensure coverage is what you expect and always use a
          check or money order to pay premiums.
 
       7. After an auto collision, call the police.  Take down the names and
          license numbers of the drivers involved.  Note the number of
          passengers in the other car or cars, and get their names to prevent
          uninvolved individuals from filing false claims.
 
       8. Keep a disposable camera in your glovebox.  If you are in an auto
          collision, take photographs of the accident scene, any vehicle or
          property damage, and all individuals involved.  This can assist
          investigators dealing with false claims.
 
       9. Keep your insurance information private.  Be careful about giving
          out insurance information, especially policy numbers.  Guard the
          number as closely as you would a credit card number.
 
      10. Tell the truth on insurance forms.  Lying about mileage driven on an
          auto policy, or about a medical condition on a life insurance
          policy, is policy misrepresentation.  It's also insurance fraud, a
          felony in Pennsylvania.
 
      11. Prevent fraudulent workers' compensation fraud claims.  Employers
          can have procedures in place to protect and assist injured workers
          and to identify potentially fraudulent claims.  And employees can
          help by reporting suspicious injuries.
 
      12. If you are an employer, carry workers' compensation insurance.  It's
          the law.  If you don't carry workers' comp insurance for your
          employees, or if you falsify documentation to reduce premiums, you
          may face criminal charges or expose yourself to civil suits by
          injured workers.
 
      13. Educate yourself.  Learn more about insurance fraud and keep your
          knowledge up to date on common fraud schemes.
 
     The Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority was created by the
 Pennsylvania State Legislature when it passed the Insurance Fraud Prevention
 Act in 1994.  The act enables the IFPA to arm law enforcement and prosecutors
 with the resources necessary to fight insurance fraud in the Commonwealth.
 The IFPA collects funds by assessing insurance companies that write polices in
 the state.  No taxpayer dollars are used.  For more information, see the
 IFPA's Web site, www.helpstopfraud.org.
 
 

SOURCE Insurance Fraud and Auto Theft Prevention Authorities
    MECHANICSBURG, Pa., April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Friday the 13th has long been
 associated with bad luck.  But some of the least lucky Pennsylvanians are
 those who find themselves in the middle of an insurance fraud scheme on any
 day of the year.  These scams include staged auto accidents, arson and bogus
 workers' compensation claims.
     In fact, insurance fraud affects all Pennsylvanians.  This felony crime
 adds hundreds of dollars a year to the average family's insurance premiums,
 according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.
     Still, when it comes to fraud, a little knowledge can go a long way toward
 improving anyone's "luck."  This Friday the 13th, the Pennsylvania Insurance
 Fraud Prevention Authority offers Pennsylvania's consumers the following 13
 ways to protect themselves from insurance fraud and help bring fraud criminals
 to justice:
 
       1. Report insurance fraud.  The number-one way to stop fraud is to tell
          authorities about it.  If you suspect insurance fraud, call the
          IFPA's toll-free tip line at 1-888-565-IFPA.
 
       2. Don't be tempted to commit insurance fraud.  Some people treat an
          accident or burglary as an opportunity to benefit financially.
          Don't allow yourself to fall into this trap -- you could be
          arrested, fined, or incarcerated.
 
       3. Drive carefully.  Allow for plenty of space between your car and
          other vehicles on the road.  Fraud criminals often try to force
          innocent motorists into collisions.  Don't become a victim of a
          staged accident.
 
       4. Only buy insurance from licensed agents.  Make sure your agent is
          licensed to sell insurance in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
 
       5. For all health insurance claims, review your Explanation of Benefits
          (EOB).  Make sure the billing, services rendered, dates and other
          information on every EOB are accurate.  If something doesn't seem
          right to you, call your insurer.
 
       6. Always read your policy, and never pay premiums in cash.  Review all
          policies to ensure coverage is what you expect and always use a
          check or money order to pay premiums.
 
       7. After an auto collision, call the police.  Take down the names and
          license numbers of the drivers involved.  Note the number of
          passengers in the other car or cars, and get their names to prevent
          uninvolved individuals from filing false claims.
 
       8. Keep a disposable camera in your glovebox.  If you are in an auto
          collision, take photographs of the accident scene, any vehicle or
          property damage, and all individuals involved.  This can assist
          investigators dealing with false claims.
 
       9. Keep your insurance information private.  Be careful about giving
          out insurance information, especially policy numbers.  Guard the
          number as closely as you would a credit card number.
 
      10. Tell the truth on insurance forms.  Lying about mileage driven on an
          auto policy, or about a medical condition on a life insurance
          policy, is policy misrepresentation.  It's also insurance fraud, a
          felony in Pennsylvania.
 
      11. Prevent fraudulent workers' compensation fraud claims.  Employers
          can have procedures in place to protect and assist injured workers
          and to identify potentially fraudulent claims.  And employees can
          help by reporting suspicious injuries.
 
      12. If you are an employer, carry workers' compensation insurance.  It's
          the law.  If you don't carry workers' comp insurance for your
          employees, or if you falsify documentation to reduce premiums, you
          may face criminal charges or expose yourself to civil suits by
          injured workers.
 
      13. Educate yourself.  Learn more about insurance fraud and keep your
          knowledge up to date on common fraud schemes.
 
     The Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority was created by the
 Pennsylvania State Legislature when it passed the Insurance Fraud Prevention
 Act in 1994.  The act enables the IFPA to arm law enforcement and prosecutors
 with the resources necessary to fight insurance fraud in the Commonwealth.
 The IFPA collects funds by assessing insurance companies that write polices in
 the state.  No taxpayer dollars are used.  For more information, see the
 IFPA's Web site, www.helpstopfraud.org.
 
 SOURCE  Insurance Fraud and Auto Theft Prevention Authorities