PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS USE SURVEILLANCE TO COMBAT INSURANCE FRAUD
Fraud crime is growing. It cuts deeply into “society’s pockets,” costing the economy billions of dollars. Each one of us is paying higher prices. Insurance rates go up and all products and services have insurance built into their production costs. So, we all pay.
What is Insurance Fraud?
Insurance Fraud is a deliberate attempt to cheat an insurance system for personal gains or profit. Insurance fraud occurs when a party lies to obtain benefits that are not due to them.
For the crime to hold, it must be proven that the act and intent to commit the crime were present. The performance of this crime cuts across a range of persons including beneficiaries, employees, insurance workers, lawyers, and medical practitioners.
Surveillance Done by Private Investigators
The role of the private investigator is to provide proof in the video, photos, and audio recordings that the claimant is not entitled to the insurance payments that he or she is claiming. Surveillance often occurs over multiple days and identifies a pattern that suggests a fraudulent act. Surveillance work done by a private investigator can be instrumental in disproving insurance claims, forcing claimants to drop their claims, and reducing the compensation owed or payable.
Examples of the Use of Surveillance
Here are some examples where a private investigator uses surveillance to help attorneys and insurance carriers get to the truth:
- In a case of a personal injury or Workmen’s Compensation claim, for instance, say the claimant is exaggerating an injury sustained at work. Surveillance could reveal that the claimant is healthier than they claim to be. Perhaps, they might be found walking about mowing the lawn without limping or climbing up a ladder to maintain a roof at home without any assistance when the initial claim declared difficulty in walking. The private investigator’s surveillance would expose this lie.
- In the case of a valid claim by an employee hurt on the job, the employer is liable for a variety of fees. There are cases where employers seek to renege on the fulfillment of workers’ compensation fees and try to “cut corners” to avoid payment. Sometimes others are involved as well: Employees, medical practitioners, legal practitioners, and even insurance agents. Private investigators gather evidence objectively so conflicts can be resolved no matter who is trying to commit fraud.
- In the case of automobile insurance fraud, claimants could stage a collision to make it look like they were involved in an accident just to get insurance benefits. In many cases, this activity is carried out by more than one or two persons. Doctors could also be recruited to attend to “injured” persons who will also be making claims. In other cases, a real accident might occur, but the claimant could exaggerate the damage done to the vehicle or include previous damages done to the car as part of the present claim. Personal injuries could also be exaggerated. Private investigators can aid attorneys to unravel complicated cases with multiple players.
- Property fraud usually includes staged vandalism or theft of personal goods just to get a favorable insurance benefit. Sometimes a property is overvalued, and the insurance agent is involved in this ruse. Surveillance can uncover evidence for attorneys and insurance carriers.
- In 2020, there was a tremendous increase in unemployment insurance fraud. In this case, people claim to be unemployed when they are not, or they steal another person’s identity just to claim unemployment benefits. Private investigators can use surveillance to get to the bottom of suspicious cases.
Experienced private investigators have used surveillance techniques for a long time. It has proven to be an efficient tool in proving insurance-related fraud.
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